Monday, December 1, 2014

Tell Them Your Stories

Our Christmas tree stands in our living room, fully decorated. You can't miss it. I bought it on sale months before we moved from Arkansas to Texas. The 5 1/2 foot wide, 7 1/2 foot tall tree would have looked great in the large parsonage we lived in, but it's huge in the living room of the small home we bought seven years ago. I've affectionately nicknamed it the "Jolly Green Giant" tree and can't imagine having anything smaller.

My boys love decorating the tree. Now that my oldest is taller than me and can easily reach the top, they're a huge help when it's time to put everything up. I was trying to balance putting up the tree and cooking dinner, so I let them handle a lot of the ornaments this year. I wasn't expecting what I heard:

"Here's Mitzy's ornament." (Our first Yorkie, who died almost three years ago.) "And here's Miley's." (Our two year old Yorkie.)
"Mom, here's the one from when you and Dad got married."
"These were Grandma's rocking horses, right?"
"Can we put up our baby ornaments?"
"Mom, here's more of your vintage Santas. What does vintage mean anyway?"

The significance of their comments didn't strike me until later, as I sat looking at the tree. My boys know the stories.

I have a thing about ornaments. I won't buy them just because they're cute - they have to have a story. There's our Santa on a motorcycle, because I've been promising my husband for years that he'd get one someday. (And he finally did, about two weeks ago.) My ballerina, because I took ballet and learned to dance on pointe (not well, but I did it). The wooden Hershey's ornaments and rocking horses that hung on my mother-in-law's tree, a small piece of my husband's childhood and his parents, who I never got to meet. The boys' first Christmas ornaments. The photo frame with the boys sitting in Santa's lap together for the first time, when our oldest was three and our youngest was just six months old.

Our tree isn't just hung with ornaments - it's hung with memories and stories.

Every family has stories. We have stories of how our family came to be: how we met, how our faith has been passed down from generation to generation. There are stories of our faith: miracles we've witnessed, answered prayers, God's faithfulness. We have family members our children will never know this side of heaven, people whose legacy shouldn't be forgotten. It's our history, and our children need to know it.

Tell your kids your stories. That's part of why I write, journal, and blog. I want to pass something down to my boys, something tangible that my children and grandchildren can see and touch. I want them to read about our family's ups and downs. When God is faithful, when He comes through in an amazing way, I want them to have a record of it.

I love the commands God gives Joshua and the Israelite's in Joshua chapter 4:

 Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

He repeats the command just a few verses later:

21 He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’

Our stories matter to our families and to God. This Christmas, take time to sit down with your children and tell them your stories. Tell them about your family, your faith, and  the greatest story of all - the story of God's love.


  1. I love this and can't wait to share!

  2. What a beautiful testament to the faith-filled family you and your husband have created. Sometimes, we don't realize how important those little conversations are until we overhear our children discussing things.

  3. Oh, yes, the stories are so important! Our children deserve nothing less.

  4. Love this! Our Christmas tree is mainly homemade things and heirlooms like Hermie the elf, who's sat in ever tree since the dude was tiny, and probably long before that, even.


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