When Jacob was blessing Joseph’s sons, Joseph tried to correct his father about which son was older, for the older son was due the special blessing. Jacob however, refused Joseph’s guidance and said, “I know, my son; I know. Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.” So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
There in Egypt, in the land of Pharaoh, Jacob blessed his two grandsons from Joseph. Jacob then went on to bless the other men in his family. What a special occasion that must have been, but it was also bittersweet. These blessings were given at the end of Jacob’s time on earth. Not all of us will be granted a time for giving bedside blessings. One of our saddest sacrifices was being overseas when Russell’s mother, Ann, died. Though we spent the previous Christmas with her, it was difficult not to have one more chance to give and receive blessings before she passed from this world. We continue to learn to live each day extending blessings while we can.