We are a people who mark occasions—not just on the day they happen but on subsequent years afterward. Birthdays. Death days. Anniversaries. Class reunions. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. The commemoration of special events. The day a war started and the day it ended.
And why is that, I wonder? Why don’t we just celebrate or mourn on that day, as the occasion calls for?
There’s something significant about an anniversary, I think. It puts a stake in the ground and lets us see where we are now, and where we’ve been. And this isn’t just nostalgia; God commands us to remember:
Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father, and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you.
So why do we need to remember?
I think we need cues to remember because we’re so forward-focused that we forget the milestones from last month, last year, last decade. We’re so busy forging ahead that we forget the things (the good ones and the hard ones) that made us who we are today. We need a reminder to slow down, to look in the rearview mirror, to thank God for where we are and where we’ve come from.
I think there’s another reason God instructs us to remember. It’s because the emotions of the thing we’re recalling are often too big to be absorbed in a single day. We can’t take in all the joy required when a person is born, so we spread it out and mark that day on each ensuing year. We can’t take in the enormity of a loss on the day we lose someone we love, so we come back and revisit it later. We can’t do justice to all that being a mother stands for on that one day of labor, so we set aside a day to commemorate motherhood every year.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of this website, StephanieRische.com, and it’s gotten me thinking about remembering in general and about staking the mile markers of God’s faithfulness.
I’ve been thinking about how we’re pretty good at remembering the big anniversaries, but we often overlook the less obvious but no less significant ones. I want to do a better a job remembering, savoring, taking note, saying thank you. I want to be aware of God is doing in the moment, and I want to be intentional about thanking him afterward.
I have a lot of remembering to do, but here’s a small start. This month marks five years since I’ve been praying with my Tuesday prayer buddy. Just a few weeks ago marks the day four years ago when the man of my dreams got down on one knee on the cold pavement and asked me to marry him. Last week marks the day my little niece was baptized and charmed the whole congregation with her big eyes and fluffy white gown. This February marks my college roommate’s birthday—the 18th one I’ve celebrated with her.
I don’t want to take these mini-celebrations for granted. I want to come to God in gratitude for all of them—for his faithfulness in the moment they happened and for all they mean to me now.
What about you? What small celebrations do you want to commemorate? I’d love to hear about them.
In honor of my blog birthday, I’m giving away two gifts to two new subscribers! Type in your email address on the right to be eligible for a $10 Starbucks gift card or a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. I’ll choose two randomly selected commenters on Wednesday.