Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Trees and Ebenezers

I love words.  Not like Steve loves them in that he uses them well.  I have a fondness for certain words.  Fidelity. Membership. Ebenezer.  There's a word you don't hear every day!  The dictionary defines ebenezer as "a commemoration of divine assistance".  It has its origins in Hebrew, meaning stone of help.  Samuel used the word in reference to the "stone which he set up in commemoration of God's help to the Israelites in their victory over the Philistines at Mizpah (1 Samuel 7:12)".  (Also from the entry in the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary).

We don't see ebenezers around much these days.  But if you look, you can find them.  They may look like Samuel's:  I have a stone in our back yard to commemorate the amazing, miraculous way God blessed us with this house.  But they may look completely different than Samuel's:  Our Christmas Tree.  Our Christmas tree is my favorite part of the holiday.  It is a collection of ebenezers for our family.  We have so many ornaments.  Each one has a very specific story or remembrance for us.  Each year we get to look back over all of the ways God has blessed us.  It is a beautiful activity.  It is also the sole reason I enjoy taking down our tree.  As I wrap each ornament I again think back on what God has done and thank Him - for He is good and gracious and glorious and great.  And I can see it right there on our tree.

So I want to share a few of our ebenezers with you!  This SIUE ornament is one of the most exciting.  When I see it I instantly go back to the day when we received an envelope in the mail informing us that Victoria had been awarded a full scholarship for college.  Room and board for four full years!  I get giddy just thinking of that day.  All the emotions and excitement flood back.  God truly provided and blessed us (and Victoria) beyond belief!

We have ebenezers to remember those that are no longer with us.  We do
think of these people more often than Christmas - but it is a beautiful thing to hang an ornament and tell a story or two about people we have loved and lost.

I cannot put up a tree without a flood of feelings of gratitude for family.  Specifically, this tree ornament
 brings back childhood memories.  My mom made this blue Christmas tree.  The year was 1977.  I see it and am forever grateful for parents who love me and love the Lord and who are still such an absolute blessing to me and Steve and the kiddos.

Our favorite ebenezers to put on the tree (and they may actually cause arguments among us for who gets to put which one on the tree!) are a set of simple cardboard "Adornaments" that are pictures depicting the "I AM's" of Scripture.  Jesus says "I am the Door", "I am the Good Shepherd", "I am the "Light of the World", "I am the King of Kings", "I am the Living Water", "I am the Bread of Life", and so on.  What a glorious reminder of His goodness, provision, grace and mercy to us.

This snowflake is a gift from Steve's days at the Journey.  What a blessing that church was to us.  We learned so much of the grace of God while we were there and God used the leaders of that church to change our lives forever.  We put this ebenezer up with thoughts of love and fondness and gratitude.

The 80's Precious Moments ornament was a gift from my parents for the first year of marriage for Steve and I.  1989.  Oh so long ago.  But I will be eternally grateful for such a wonderful man.  I hang that ebenezer with joy each year!!

There are ebenezers for places we have lived (California, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois).  We cherish each one of those states and homes.  There are ebenezers for adventures that God gaves us - Ireland, Rock City, Land Between the Lakes, Vail, Phoenix and the list goes on and on.  Each a sweet remembrance of "divine assistance".  My ornaments are back in their box until later this year.  But I loved taking each one out and rejoicing in the faithfulness of our good God.  We commemorate Him.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

how lovely...thanks for sharing your sweet memories and ebebezers.