Raising Ebenezers

The word Ebenezer during the Christmas season conjures images of Charles Dickens’ character Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.”  But, in a biblical sense, it means making memorials or more simply a place to remember what the Lord has done.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

What does this have to do with adoption and foster Care? Hang on a second.

After inviting God to help them, following many attempts at doing on their own, Israel drives away their nemesis the Philistines. Yes, the same ones of David and Goliath fame. To commemorate the event, their leader Samuel erected a stone of remembrance to always point the people toward the goodness of the Lord.

A stone. It was common, available and practical. For decades and centuries to come, the people would see it and it would cause them to think back to the ways in which God had provided.

Through our Christmas traditions (and others throughout the year) we set up our own versions of ebenezers in our own lives. Simple, common things that remind us of the goodness in our lives. 

Our Christmas Tree is filled with such reminders of our marital journey. We have a tradition of purchasing an ornament each year of the most poignant thing that happened or the overall theme of the year. In fact, if you were to trace back the ornaments on our tree, you’d be able to pretty much gather the story of our marriage — the highs and the lows.  

The backside of the car ornament. Can't show the front, because it has our names!
The backside of the car ornament. Can’t show the front, because it has our names!

There’s one for “Our First Christmas Together,” for the first year we were dating, and a similar one for the first year of marriage. In 2007, we had so much car trouble that I searched the Internet for a car ornament. May that year stay in the past. 

Some are simply ornaments with two big reindeer and two little reindeer or snowmen or gingerbread people. The words Mom and Dad are written on it along with the boys initials. There’s one featuring toilet paper — can you guess the year? 

Its a tradition that we love and look forward to each year.

Let me encourage you to establish an ebenezer in your home to remind you of God’s provision in your lives. While it would be cool for any family- for those fostering and adopting, it’s a way to document the highs and lows and to trace back God’s goodness on the wild ride we’re all on.  

Not technically a Christmas hymn (though all can be) this beautiful timeless hymn reminds me often of His goodness. As we prepare for Christmas this week, remember that the beautiful baby born in Bethlehem didn’t stay there. He grew up, revealed his divinity and laid down his own life so that you and I could live eternally. He’s the fountain of all our blessings.

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

3 thoughts on “Raising Ebenezers

  1. Awesome post. I’ve been seeing my Ebenezer everywhere today! Butterflies (there’s a long story attached to butterflies being my reminder of God’s love for me…). 🙂

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  2. I’m new to your blog, and so far I just love it! So great to have a blog from the perspective of a Christian father. I REALLY enjoyed this particular post and will be sharing it with friends. What a wonderful idea, to have Ebenezers in our lives! So many times when things are murky we just can’t see past our current situation. Thank you so much for what you’re doing, for sharing your journey and for sharing this wisdom. May God richly bless your lives!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! I’m humbled to know that you’re reading and more importantly being blessed by this blog. What started out as a way to share with friends and family (so we wouldn’t have to answer the same 20 questions all the time) has become something the Lord is using for His glory. Just happy to be a part of that. Thank you again.

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