“I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.”
(Lyrics by Alan Jackson)
Focus of the Month: Traditions
Ah… Road-trips and family vacations. God’s hand in putting our family together. The bird dog – Charlie-Sam, Sam-Charlie! Great Grandma raising 8 kids in a 2 bedroom house while running a corner grocery store out of the front room. The healing power of God in our lives. The bloodhounds and hunting stories from the old family farm. History of glass-blowers and the magnificent creations they crafted…
Are there stories your family has passed down from generation to generation? Perhaps they are stories about your family history, occupations, trades, homes, and/or family events. As I prepared to write this week, I wandered down memory lane through past holidays and family gatherings, and recalled so many precious memories of family sitting together sharing stories about our past.
Times of gathering and telling stories help us identify with our past, unite with our family, and know ourselves more intricately. If we don’t know where we have come from, how can we know where we are going? Not that we look into the rearview mirror as we drive forward into our future, but we must have an understanding of who we are and what our forefathers have accomplished and overcome in order to excel into our future. Otherwise, we are likely to walk in the same measure of struggle they experienced.
I often compare it to schooling. We cannot enter 2nd grade without completing 1st grade. We must learn from the generation before us to advance past what they have learned. One way we do that is by listening to their experiences as they share their stories. It is foolish for any of us to think we have greater understanding of life than the generation before us. We must be wise to listen and learn so that we can catapult to a greater place in our future.
Most parents desire their children to exceed their own experiences, wisdom, and successes. They want better for their children than what they had. Why? Because God has created us in His image and after His own character. God desires us to grow, mature, and succeed in life and blessings, revelation and wisdom. Jesus Himself told story after story – through parables – to teach us truths of His Kingdom and God’s great love for us. King David understood that generations needed to pass down stories of God’s faithfulness, power and greatness to encourage them to continue to seek, serve and honor God so that they, too, could walk in all He had provided for them.
“Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.” (Psalm 145:3-12)
As you prepare to gather with family in the next week, month, year, what stories will your family share? Are they stories of overcoming hardship, defying circumstances of defeat, and exceeding all odds? Are they stories of struggle and failure? Are there any stories that recall and promote God’s faithfulness, mighty acts, and majesty? If not, why not? The Bible is full of stories showing how God has reached down from Heaven to provide, protect, lead, cover, teach, and bless His creation. Do you have any experiences in your lifetime – or from generations past – when God has shown Himself strong on your family’s behalf?
Be encouraged to stir up the memories of those stories – those testimonies – of God’s faithfulness to you, to your family, to the generations before you. Share them with each other – and with the generation coming up under you. Grow hope in those who take the time to listen to your stories. There are stories that transcend generations and offer strength, encouragement and truth in power to those who listen and heed the lessons within the story. If nothing else, recite Psalm 145 in the midst of your family gathering, and see what stories – what memories – what testimonies of God’s faithfulness – it sparks. Perhaps by doing so, you could begin a new tradition within your own family!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Psalm 145; 1 Chronicles 16:24; Psalm 107:22; Genesis 1:27; Genesis 49:25-26; Matthew 13:34-35