The Memories of Home
As we live each day, we are making memories. Every day adds to them and determines more fully their final character. Often, we sit for hours with our children and grandchildren, talking about our home and reflecting on the past. When we are together, we laugh, cry and praise the Lord for the great home He has given us. Inevitably, someone says, “Do you remember when?” Part of the sorrow and suffering of Christ here upon the earth is to be accounted for by the fact that He was away from His Father’s home. He liked the children of men, but He missed the glory and joy He had in His Father’s house. This must be a part of what Heaven will be like. We are constantly making memories, and the process of making them determines the way in which we live. Our memories will make old age happy or unhappy. That is what memories do! Our fondest memories should be of our daily life in our Christian home, both our memories and those of our children.
Memories of the home should include the meal times, prayer times and game times that we shared. The trips that we took, the animals we raised and the fun and battles that we encountered. Often there were conflicts, and we shared them as well. As a family, we make memories every day of the week, for you never know when you are making the last of them. Life is so uncertain that we never know when we are having the last meal, last talk or the last walk together. I know of a family who ends every phone conversation, email, note and parting of company with “Love you”. Never leave the house in the morning if there has been a misunderstanding, bitter or ugly words, or sullen silence because those things may become a lifelong bitter memory. The best defense to the home is those eight special words we mentioned at the beginning, “I’m sorry,” “Forgive me,” and “I love you”. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (“Proverbs 15:1).
The story is told of a young man with a kind and gentle nature who left his home to go to his job. He had not been gone an hour when his body was brought home. The scaffold upon which he was working had given way, and he had been killed. One of his sisters was more grief-stricken then the others. She seemed to have a peculiar sorrow. She could only say, “I wasn’t kind to him as he left this morning.”
Memories! When made, they are eternal and cannot be changed!
Children Have Memories Too
Having traveled to many large cities and watched the great crowds of people moving up and down the streets, in and out of large buildings, I have grown accustomed to watching people rush in every direction. Each time I am reminded that every one of them bears in their heart and life the impression of the home from which they came.
What kind of memories will your children have of home? Will they be memories of parents that loved the Lord Jesus Christ and continually sought the Bible as direction for their lives? Will there be memories of comfort, inspiration, encouragement and blessings, or will there be memories that sear, burn, bite and curse? We should face the matter squarely, being fully assured that the children we send out into the world will never fully escape from the memories and influence of the home. If the childhood home has been true and sweet, its benediction goes through all of life.
“Sin may sweep over the soul like a devastating fire; sorrow may quench every joy and hope; but the memory of a sweet and blessed home lives on like a solitary star burning in the deep of night. And even in the midst of sin, its picture floats before the mind like a vanishing dream.”
Here is the testimony of one man: “Many a night I remember lying quietly in the little upper chamber before sleep came. There would come a gentle footstep on the stair, the door would noiselessly open and a well-known form, softly gliding through the darkness, would appear at my bedside. First, there would be a few pleasant inquiries of affection, which gradually deepened into words of counsel. Then kneeling, her head close to mine, her most earnest hopes and prayers would flow forth in prayer. How largely a mother can wish for her boy! Her tears spoke the earnestness of her desire. I seem to feel them yet where sometimes they fell upon my face. Rising, with a goodnight kiss, she was gone.”
A memory like that is the greatest gift a parent can leave a child. It will be a bulwark to guard against temptation and sin. It will prove a golden chain binding the child to the feet of God. Is it worthwhile to fill a child’s life with memories like that? How careless we parents can be! How slothful, how negligent! God forgive and help us!
Sometimes, sorrow is not taken properly. If a home is a truly Christian home, sorrow does not put out all of the lights. It rather makes the home more tender and loving. It draws the home closer to God. Sanctified sorrow transfigures a home, and brings more of God down into it. So it often happens that the memory of sorrow proves to be the most tender and firmest clasp that binds home and hearts together.
As we close this, there are some things that we must never forget. We must have Christ in our homes if our memories are to be all that they should be. There should be a family altar where at some time each day all of the family gathers to hear God’s words and to pray together. In this 21st century we are quickly moving through this world. Soon all that remains will be the memory of our lives. The strongest foundation that will give stability, direction and purpose in our lives is a Christian Home (I Cor. 3:11-13).
A beautiful story is told of Mozart. His last musical composition was his Requiem. After days of illness and the most painful labor, it was finished. His beautiful daughter Emily came into the room just as he was writing in the last notes, and Mozart handed to her the manuscript, saying, “There, my beautiful Emily, it is finished; my Requiem is finished, and I too, am finished.”
“Say not so, dear father,” said the gentle Emily, “you seem stronger today.”
“I shall never be well again,” replied her father, “but here, Emily, sit at the piano and play these notes and sing them with the hymns of the sainted mother.”
Emily obeyed, singing with a voice made rich by the tender emotion.
Then, when she had finished, she turned from the piano, expecting the approving smile of her father; but she saw only the look of peace on his features and the seal of death. He had gone home on the wings of his own requiem.
Listen when I say, there will be no requiem so sweet to the heart in the last hour of earthly life as the requiem of blessed and hallowed home memories. It will make music in the heart sweeter than the song of angels. May God help us to live at home so sweetly. One of the best rewards will be our children, grandchildren and future generations that followed our example as we built a Christian home where Jesus Christ was the continuously invited guest and His precious Word was our standard and guide. Let’s make home a place where “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1Timothy 6:19).
Let our goals be evident of this fact. The nearest thing to heaven is a Christian Home!