In my last post, I gave thought to the idea of looking ahead in the New Year and ways we can honor God with the principle of ‘Firsts.’ Armed with scripture like Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you,” we can aim for bringing the first part of our day, week, year, finances or talents to God, trusting Him to be our supply in every way.
In this post, I’d like to take a 180-degree turn and think on ways to honor God through remembrance. Remembrance is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “1: the state of bearing in mind, 2: ability to remember, 3: an act of calling to mind, 4: a memory of something, 5a: something that serves to keep in mind or bring to mind, b: something expressive of friendly remembrance.”
It happened to be that as I was changing my wall calendar on New Years Eve day, I sensed the Holy Spirit drawing me to sit down and flip through the pages of the past twelve months. A myriad of thoughts and emotions began to surface while looking at the different notations indicating appointments, birthdays or weddings, activities attended for my sons and trips taken. It wasn’t long before I found myself sitting with ipod in hand, scrolling through pictures I had taken over the past year. Joy and gratitude began to fill my heart as I took a journey of remembrance. I settled in to a sweet time with the Lord as I gave thanks for His unfailing presence in my year while I navigated challenges, enjoyed good times filled with laughter, experienced hurt or faced uncertainties that the pressures of life dealt.
The past few months I have been meditating on passages in the Bible relating to the miraculous parting of water both at the Red Sea and the Jordan River. While finishing up this time of celebrating God in my year, I recalled in Joshua how after crossing the Jordan River, the Lord had spoken to Joshua to send one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to pick up and shoulder a stone from the middle of the river where they had crossed. They were to carry them over and set them down where they would camp for the night. Joshua would then set the stones up as a memorial for the people of Israel to remember how God cut off the waters of the Jordan so the ark and the people could safely cross over. I had to smile as I thought of the significance for me that my calendar holds twelve months, just as there were twelve stones set up as a memorial for Israel that day.
Whether it be through a journal, pictures, music or a calendar, the idea of marking off in remembrance the past twelve months in praise and thanksgiving to God is another wonderful way to honor His presence in our lives. I would encourage you to find a window of time where you can sit and reflect on your past year. It might bring tears of joy or pain; it may find you laughing out loud. You may find yourself on your knees humbled at the times He made a way for you where there seemed to be no way, but showing remembrance is a biblical idea that can encourage your heart for days ahead. It helps us to find peace in knowing that just as God was with us this past year, He will most certainly be present in our future. “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, you are God.” Psalm 90: 1-2 (NLT)