December 01, 2021
Each year, sometime after Thanksgiving, a big Christmas tree is placed in homes all over America. In my home, we begin putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, but it’s not the tree itself that is special. The tree is beautiful, but it looks just like any other tree until it is decorated. One by one, we take out the ornaments. There’s an ornament commemorating the year my husband and I were married and an ornament for each of our children’s first Christmas. There’s an angel ornament my son made in 3rd grade that still smells like gingerbread, (he’s 23 now). Some ornaments were handmade and some were passed down. Some have pictures in them and others were gifts given to us by friends and family. One thing is the same, they each have a memory attached to them and so one by one, when we remove them from their boxes and wrapping, we hold it up and talk about the memory that goes along with it. I’ll bet that your tree is similar in its sentimental value. I’ll bet that you could tell me a story about each ornament that hangs from your tree. We don’t often think about our Christmas tree as a memorial, and yet that is exactly what it is.
Remembering moments with our families can be pretty easy though. My adult children love to tell and retell stories about their upbringing whenever they are together. Within those stories are milestones and so they are not easily forgotten.
Unfortunately, we often miss marking the milestones in our lives with God. We forget what He has brought us through and where has He shown up in our lives? 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Dictionary.com defines the word revere as, “to regard with respect tinged with awe”. In essence Peter is telling us that we should regard Christ with awe and wonder. If Jesus never did another thing for you, what He did on the cross would be more than enough to be in awe of Him. But God doesn’t stop at dying for us and giving us eternal life with Him. He faithfully walks with us through cancer, divorce, marriage, births, deaths, promotions at work, the list goes on and on. We must take the time to intentionally commemorate the moments when we see God’s hand working in our lives. We must build our memorials like ornaments on our tree that tell the stories of God’s faithfulness over and over.
This Christmas, as you are decorating your Christmas tree and retelling the stories, take a moment and find God in that story. Let Him be what you see when you look at the memories. Find God’s faithfulness to you and memorialize it.
By Christina Baum
“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…” Joshua 4:6b-7a
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