"Bar Barakah" Birthday Celebrations
"What is a "Bar Barakah?" you ask. It means "Son of the Blessing." Whenever one of our three sons become 13 years of age, it has become a tradition for our family to give them a special ceremony or birthday party called a Bar Barakah. It is the perfect time for my husband and me to give a recap of their lives, hich we have recently done with our son, Jacob. To prepare for this event, we make a "movie" of their lives since birth. We put together all the photos we can find of our son, set it to music and share it with our family and close friends. There are funny memories, as well as happy, and interesting ones. It takes a while to find all the pictures and scan them to be able to upload them onto a computer movie maker. Then we download music of their favorite songs and set it to the mood of the picture or time them so the pictures will coincide with the words of the song.
Of course, we celebrate with their favorite foods and favorite cake, which we top off with a special statuette, such as an eagle. On my older son's cake the eagle was a metal casting with a Bible verse imprinted on the side. We chose a specific life verse for each son that pertains to how we see them growing and their future life. The verse we chose for Ryan, our oldest son, was "You shall mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31. We give them other gifts with that same verse as reminders to them of the verse, such as bookmarks, plaques, and key chains. Usually, we find these items at Christian bookstores or on the internet.
Also, we give a special blessing and ask everyone to gather around as we pray over them. This is similar to a blessing that is given at a Jewish Bar Mitzvah in which they repeat the phrase, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." A blessing empowers the child to become prosperous in their adult life. Craig Hill writes in his book, "A ceremonial blessing at the time of puberty releases a son or daughter spiritually and emotionally into manhood or womanhood. It establishes a settled sense of identity and destiny in the soul. When this truly happens, no one else can shake or discredit your manhood or womanhood." When a boy turns 13, he is becoming a teenager and begins his journey into manhood. In some cultures he is considered to be a man at this age. At least in America we still have five more years to prepare our sons before they are legally considered to be adults.
We learned about a "Bar Barakah" through a seminar we attended called "Ancient Paths" which is also a book by the same author. His book that we used is titled Bar Barakah: A Parent's Guide to A Christian Bar Mitzvah by Craig Hill. There is also a version for girls called "Bat Barakah" or "Daughter of the Blessing." In Genesis 27:34-36, Esau begged his father Isaac for his blessing after Jacob stole his birthright and blessing. He said, "Bless me- me also, O my father!" and "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" (NKJV).
During the ceremony we remind our son of the meaning of his name and how it connects him with his life verse. With all that is going on in the world, we believe this is a great reminder to our sons that we will always pray for them and want them to do their best in everything they do according to God's will.
There is also another great book called The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D. It explains how important it is for kids to have their parents' blessing or they will continually struggle throughout their lives to please their parents in the wrong ways or try to please people instead of God.
Finding peace in our lives seems to be the main key to happiness. Peace on earth is what Jesus brought us when he came to earth to live and die for us. He came to take away all of our sins so we don't have to bear those burdens ever again.
By participating in the Bar Barakah ceremony, we are releasing our sons to adulthood blessed with this gift of peace and entrusting them to God's capable hands.
Copyright © 2008-2014 Suzanne Newton
"Our twins will have a Bat/Bar Barakah in two weeks. My wife and I are excited about it. But the kids are not at all for the ceremony. The party on other hand, is what they are looking forwards to. How can we get the kids to care about what the ceremony means? They don't want to talk about it. Thanks, Calvin"
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