This little guy looks pretty good for being around for so long. He’s an M&M (duh) from the Christmas tree lights I insisted on buying. It was for our first Christmas tree after getting engaged over 17 years ago. He’s been through a lot. For the first couple years, at the end of the season I would meticulously re-insert green and the colorful friends from his light strip neighborhood into the plastic case they had come in. My hope was that they would remain in mint condition for years.
Then the kids started coming. When Jess got tall enough to be able to liberate them from their coniferous cage to live out the rest of their days with Barney and a few Disney princesses, I was forced to adjust. I reassigned the plastic candy that hadn’t been claimed by a Knickerbocker toddler to the top of our plastic tree. Also, with more kids came more decorations and more frustration packing and repacking them every year. It took several years, but eventually I resorted to winding them up like any other set of lights and tossing them in the box.
In the Bible, God frequently gave commands to remember important things, and sometimes he uses objects to help us. In Joshua 4, God told the Israelites to cross the Jordan River. In order to make that happen he caused the river to stop flowing, much like the parting of the Red Sea gig he had done 40 years earlier when God had freed their parents and grandparents from slavery in Egypt. This time God told them to get one stone from the bottom of the Jordan for each tribe of Israel and to place them on the shore as a reminder of what he had done for them.
I found this M&M guy while thinking about what to blog for today. Whenever I see him I think back to the days when my wife and I were preparing to be together for the rest of our lives. It also reminds me about the many things we’ve gone through to this day – the good and the bad – that have formed who God has in mind for us to be. He has always been faithful and he always will be. So, I’m gonna keep this one and put him somewhere I won’t lose him; somewhere I can always look at him and remember the years with my wife and family, and with our God.
I wonder if the Jordan River rock memorial thing worked. How many times did a struggling Jew walk past that memorial and get refreshed by God? I’ll bet it was often. Our nation has a wonderful practice of making memorials, even a Memorial Day, to remember the most important things that have made it possible for our country to become great. I can’t help but think that practice comes from the example of our God that this nation was formed under. It’s up to us to make sure his memorial idea still works for us.
Remembering is important because people are forgetful. We soon forget the troubles we’ve gone through that teach us about how to get to where we want to go in the future. God wants his people to recall the great things he had done for them so that they would trust him to do great things for them again.
I’d love to hear about or see pictures of things that help you to remember.