Christmas Trees…and Remembering

This week’s column is written by Shellyn Poole, our Minister to Preschooler’s and Children’s Families, who is celebrating her seventh year of service at The Church at Shelby Crossings this month. You might want to “remember” this as you put up your Christmas tree this year.
I love Christmas trees–little ones, massive ones, skinny ones, fat ones, real ones, fake ones, designer trees and Charlie Brown trees. When invited into someone’s home at Christmas, the first thing I do is go to the tree and admire it.
At our home, one tree is called the “destination tree.” It started from collected ornaments of locations we had been. We had ornaments from schools, neighborhoods, rural areas and cities; from anniversary trips, band trips, mission trips and business trips. Some of these ornaments depict a famous landmark, such as the Smithsonian Institute, and some show a way of life, such as a surf board from Hawaii. Some are made of shiny gold plate, and one is made from a cotton boll. One was made in Homewood, and another was made in the Czech Republic.
What I love most about this tree is that each ornament has a story-who, what, when, and the place it was found. Each time I unwrap and place an ornament on the tree, I’m flooded with vivid memories of a very special time and place – the cabin on the coast of California on our 25th wedding anniversary, the band kids we chaperoned to the top of the Empire State Building, or the years we lived just down the street from the Missouri state capitol. Each year when putting up that tree, conversation, laughter and debates flow as we remember a special time represented by each ornament.
In the Old Testament, Moses gave parents some very detailed instructions regarding reminiscing and establishing traditions that cause people to remember (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). God wanted His people to know in their hearts and feel the emotion of His love when they felt His Word on their foreheads. God wanted the memories of how He provided manna in the desert and a passage through the sea to flood over His people when they passed through their doorways. Holy God wanted His people to “remember” and to talk about those experiences within their families so that they would never forget the Lord, their God.
“Holy God, in this time of busyness and celebrations, may we never forget that You are Lord. You have established our steps. You have brought us through ‘deserts’ and ‘seas.’ You have provided for our daily needs. You have sustained us in times of trouble and blessed us beyond our ability to list. Keep the memories of Your salvation, Your provision, Your sustaining power, Your deliverance, Your sovereignty ever before us. Amen”