I pulled the pretzel-framed photograph out of the ornament drawer and laughed. How did I know at four years old that pretzels would be one of my favorite snacks? It is amazing to look through the ornament boxes and see glimpses of where my family traveled over the years, the people who gave us presents, the ornaments that make star appearances and those that shuffle around the side of the tree.
What a difference years can bring! The creepy Santa face is now a beautiful wood carving. The child’s clothespin angel is more sentimental than beautiful. And perspective shifts with time in other ways, too. Today I sat at a table with my younger brother and realized that God really did know what He was doing all those years ago. Years ago I swore off siblings, but now my brother is one of my closest friends.
I wish I had that kind of perspective more often. Maybe it just takes looking back. We’ve gone through a tree every year, and some ornaments have literally bitten the dustpan. It reminds me of those verses in Hebrews 12 speaks of Christ’s introduction of a new covenant to replace the way of life the Jews followed for hundreds of years:
“25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ 27 Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.”
While there are no small children or animals running around the house right now, I can still imagine some realistic ways that more of our ornaments could go the way of used tissue paper and disposable Christmas plates. Is my life filled with things that will crash-and-burn with a good shaking? Since I am living under Christ’s rule, not the “normal” modern mindset, what things do I have hanging on that will fly off at the first brisk rattle? How do I ornament my life with grace for others, and reference for God? It is a day-by-day process, and eventually I will look back and enjoy the contrast the years bring.
God, thank You for yearly reminders of special times in life, as well as how much life has changed. God, life is going to change so much more as time goes on, the world changes, and my life shakes and settles. Please help me to seek You in all the changes, and Your direction for my life. To Your glory, Amen.