One of my favorite New Year traditions in our family is the Yaweh Jireh box. It is a way to establish in our family culture a rhythm of remembering what the Lord has done in our lives. It gives us peace and confidence in a God who is with us and sees ahead, understanding our true needs and establishing our way.
We have several fun New Year traditions but this one is the most meaningful by far. I encourage you to start a Yaweh Jireh box of your own! I’ll tell you how. But first, let me share a little bit about what brought us to developing this tradition: memorial stones and the meaning of Yaweh Jireh.
Memorial Stones – Remembering What God Has Done
He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ …that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:21, 22, 24 NASB)
Joshua chapter 4 is an amazing story. God instructs the Israelites to set up a memorial of stones to remind themselves of what He did for them. The Lord parted the waters of the river Jordan so that they could pass through to the Promised land! He tells them that the memorial they establish will serve as a reminder to them and to future generations of His provision and power.
In the Bible, stones of remembrance, commemoration, or memorial are used several times in this way. In another example, Genesis 28, Jacob sets up his stone pillow as a holy memorial of the vision of the heavenly stairway and God’s promises to him. It becomes a pivotal event and location in Jacob’s life. For the Israelites, stone memorials marked out an event that showed God’s faithfulness so that when they would look upon them, they would remember.
We need these memorials in our lives today. We forget too easily and live blind to the truth that God sees and goes ahead of us, preparing and providing. We do not trust because we do not remember. Our lives are so often lived weakly, worrying and fretting over who/what/when/how. No wonder our days can start to feel so powerless! No wonder so many of our children live powerless lives as well.
A deep, unshaken faith is tied to the remembrance of God’s provision. We would do well to build this kind of remembrance into our family’s culture. Whatever we are faced with, we can go back to those marks in time and be encouraged by who God is and what He has done. We can look upon and touch those “stones,” knowing that this same God promises to be with us and guide us today.
Incorporating Memorial Stones in Your Family Culture
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:12
How can we mark out God’s faithfulness? The days between Christmas and the New Year are a perfect time to make your own memorials, although you can certainly do it any time of year. My challenge to you is to find a fresh way to commemorate God’s faithfulness in your life and start now. Then revisit it once a year around the New Year to add more “stones” to your memorial!
Here are some ideas to get you and your family started in building your own memorial:
- Write out a list of thanksgiving and post it on the wall.
- Cut out and write on paper stones with the kids, taping them to a window.
- Write words or phrases on real stones and put them in a large vase.
- Put up a shelf and add mementos from events in your life that remind you of God’s faithfulness.
- Write songs or assemble a playlist that reminds you about examples of God’s provision in your life.
- Make a collage of pictures and drawings representing your experience of God’s work this year.
Our Yaweh Jireh Box New Year’s Tradition
Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means ‘the Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ – Genesis 22:14
Several years ago we started a “Yaweh Jireh” box. (We read a book where it was spelled Yaweh Jireh but it’s also more commonly spelled as Yaweh Yireh or Jehova Jireh.)
Yaweh Jireh means “God will provide” or “The Lord who is with me sees ahead.” It was first uttered by Abraham when God stopped him from sacrificing Isaac and provided a ram in his place. What a beautiful foreshadowing of Christ! The same God who provided for Abraham that day provides for you and I today and all the days to come.
Over the years we have filled our Yahweh Yireh box with “memorial stones” that remind us of God’s faithfulness. We started out with little wooden ornaments and would draw and and written on them our remembrance. These days, our stones are scraps of paper, and each year we transfer the list into a little booklet that we keep in our box so that we have an ongoing record.
Every year around New Year’s Eve we sit down together as a family and talk about all the ways the Lord has gone head of us and provided during the year. What do we write down? Everything from major events to the small but meaningful examples of His care.We fill up the box with our “stones” and write our records.
The Yaweh Jireh box is a tradition that tells the story of God in our lives! Reading through the past years of God’s provision encourages our faith and the faith of our kids by remembering Yaweh Jireh.
Start Your Own Yaweh Jireh New Year Tradition
It’s easy to get started with your own Yaweh Jireh box for a New Year tradition. You can use a box like we have or just a notebook you bring out with the Christmas decorations each year.
We started with a wooden box I found on sale at a craft store. It had a chalkboard finish on the top of the box and I wrote Yaweh Jireh on it. (I haven’t been able to find the same box since then, but you can use a craft box and chalkboard labels or signs.) I also got blank wooden ornaments and we’d use that to write down our remembrances.
One year, once the tradition was established, I ordered a nice box from Etsy with a custom engraving on the top and inside. I purchased a little booklet to keep inside it, and we traded wooden ornaments (which were hard to keep up with) for paper scraps and a journal to record past year’s “stones” into. It has worked beautifully!
Yaweh Jireh – Yaweh Yireh – Jehova Jireh
A deep, unshaken faith is tied to the remembrance of God’s provision. I want a deep, unshaken faith, don’t you? I want that for my children and for future generations, too.
The Lord provides. He gives wisdom, guidance, and care. He provides for physical, spiritual, and emotional needs… Above all that, He gives Himself. That’s what we really need, isn’t it? We can rest in the knowledge that He provides. It may not always look like what you expected. It may not happen when you wanted it to. But it is always in His perfect way and in His perfect timing.
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