I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 2 Peter 1:13-15 NIV
It’s Thanksgiving time again; the time for families to come together and celebrate their love and blessings. My family is no different. We always made our pilgrimage back to the Midwest to hug, share, laugh and cry with our roots… our family.
We have many cool family traditions. When mom was alive we celebrated our family Christmas at Thanksgiving. It was a marvelous mixture of turkey and blessings, presents and tinsel.
One not so cool tradition was rehashing old wounds. It didn't happen intentionally, yet being together often brought back fractured memories.
Before televisions, before movies, before computers, we had storytellers. Families would gather and the grandparents would tell their stories. We often thought they retold the same old yarns because their minds couldn't come up with anything new. But I believe God uses the elderly in our families to repeat accounts of triumph after hardships, love overcoming pain and life-changing salvation so we will remember God's infinite love long after these precious storytellers leave this world.
My mother is with our heavenly Father. I will miss her retelling the miraculous experience of a change that occurred in 1956. She was not raised in a Christian home. However, her parents were invited to an old fashioned tent revival in the autumn of their lives.
From that day on my grandfather’s daily prayer was, “Lord, I taught my children how to live without You, now help me to lead them to Your throne of grace.” In 1956, after years of praying, trusting and believing, my parents gave their hearts to Jesus and did an about-face with their lives. My father turned his back on alcoholism, my mother walked away from her cigarettes and our family got plugged into the local church.
This is a story that needs to be retold time and again for every generation to hear so they can witness the impact God continues to make on each family. Our memories are fragile. They require great care and commitment.
Years ago, I started a new habit. I wanted to follow Peter and Paul's example and paint a memory in the minds of my children that will be eternal.
Will you join me in this?
Let's retell only good stories and repeat our testimony of God's saving grace. Let’s bar satan from the celebration. Someday we will all leave this world.
What story will you leave behind? Will it be stories of strife, trouble and woe, or celebrations of joy, laughter, love and grace?
This year turn off the television, power the phone off, unplug the video games and refresh your memory with stories of God’s sweet love.
Write the stories that God lays on your heart in a journal and then share them during the holiday season with family and friends.
In what specific ways has God changed your life? What does He want to say to those you love through your stories? Who needs to hear what God has done in your life? Will you take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come on your walk with Christ? Are you allowing God to lead you today with the same enthusiasm as you did in days gone by?
Father, thank You for our memories. Thank You for using memories of my old sinful life to keep me humble. Thank You mostly for memories of how Jesus Christ turned our family around. Help me to repeat the good news to my family, so they will always remember Your love. Amen.