Remembrance Stones

Written by Nicole O'Meara

I don’t have a favorite Christmas ornament. I’m drawn to stars and have several that I’ve collected over the years, but none hold special meaning or are particularly dear to my heart. Maybe that’s why I’ve loved reading the stories of our staff’s favorite ornaments all month long. I can picture the people and moments behind those favorite ornaments and I’m grateful the staff shared their precious memories with us.

As I read their stories, I was reminded of the stones Joshua placed in Gilgal as a remembrance of the Lord’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt. Joshua had a man from each tribe in Israel pull a stone out of the Jordan River, from the place where the priests with the Ark of the Covenant stood while God’s people walked across the dry river bottom to safety on the other side. Then they placed those "remembrance stones" in Gilgal so that every time people looked at them, "all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty" (Joshua 4:20).

Like Pastor Brian’s lighted nativity ornament, the stones of remembrance reminded the Israelites of the power of God.

Joshua’s altar at Gigal is not the only place in scripture we see people build memorials of stones. In Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob set up a pillar after his vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder from Heaven. God told Jacob, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Like Pastor Phil’s "First Christmas as a Married Couple" ornament, Jacob’s stones of remembrance reminded him to look forward with faith in God’s promises.

Samuel built a stone altar that he named Ebenezer which means "the stone of help." 1 Samuel 7:7-12 tells the story of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from a Philistine attack. The Israelites were afraid and begged Samuel to pray for them. God heard and struck the Philistines with confusion making their defeat a sure thing for Israel.

Like Kelly’s grandmother’s ornament basket, Samuel’s remembrance stone reminded the Israelites of God’s help—his goodness and grace for his children.

In this light, I see my Christmas tree differently. I see the tiny ornament of red flannel pajamas given on my son’s first Christmas and recall God’s miracle work in delivering Joshua and me through a tough pregnancy and premature delivery. I look at the small quilt square given by my mentor with a tag that reads “God is my comfort.” My mentor is now in the presence of Jesus but her ornament reminds me that God gave me twenty years of spiritual guidance and I feel warm and comforted in his provision.

A Christmas tree can be a tower of remembrance stones. Each ornament has the ability to remind us of the moments and people connected to them—moments and people God providentially placed in our lives for our good. Who has God used to grow you, teach you, and love you? How many moments in your life has God filled with his goodness, his protection, and his presence?  

As you put away your precious “remembrance stone ornaments," consider carefully how you can continue to display remembrance stones in your home without a tower of pine needles wrapped in electric lights.
Posted in
Tagged with

No Comments