Step Out & Thrive Ministries with Bethany Boring
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Christmas Stones of Remembrance: Stone 1 – The Annoying Singing Christmas Tree

A few weeks ago, I shared with you 3 Needs You Need In Order To Walk On Water and they are:

  1. In order to walk on water, we needto fully recognize Who God is.
  2. In order to walk on water, we needto believe we are who God says that we are.
  3. In order to walk on water, we needto know deep within our being that we are never alone.

As we enter the Christmas season, I wanted to share in a much more personal level.

How we can have these three needs met purposefully during the craziness this month tends to bring? It’s time to get practical. Let’s cut into the “how-to” instead of beating around the bush (aint nobody got time for that right now!).

But I need to warn you. It won’t all be pretty and wrapped-up in a bow, but it will be practical ways God has led our family to walk Christmas out differently. Introducing the “Stones of Remembrance” Christmas series. Each post will present a practical way that we have seen God work through our lives through physical items of events that we participate in as a family. They help us remember Who God is and who we are. In seeing these items and traditions in our house it really helps me remember that I am never alone.

STONE #1: The Annoying Singing Christmas Tree

It was 2008 and the beginning of a cold Christmas in Illinois. My husband and I were about to experience our baby boy’s first Christmas. Although we were excited, finances were incredibly tight due to travel costs to voyage up and down the Eastern side of the United States to see both sides of the family for the holiday. So we decided to get a little adventurous on our gifts to one another that year. After all, our baby boy was set with his Tickle Me Elmo (my first major mommy fail – he was scared to death of this thing!).

I honestly can’t remember how we found the free rummage sale. I remember it was a Saturday morning and we entered the crowded gymnasium with the hopes of finding something useful for one another. Everything was donated and (you guessed it) completely free. I found my way into the men’s clothes and found the most amazing sweater that would fit my skinny husband (unfortunately, I don’t have that gene). He found me a jacket that fit me perfectly (miracles do happen!). We were having fun and completely satisfied, until we went to leave…

Out of the corner of his eye, my husband spotted a tiny tree with a wound-up electric cord. As we came closer, I noticed it had two huge eyes and an opened mouth. Of course, everything inside of me beckoned to turn the tree on. We searched high and low for an electric outlet. I still remember holding my breath before plugging it into the wall whispering, “Please don’t catch on fire!” As the prongs entered the socket, we stepped back to see this little tree singing and swaying to Christmas music that we both found incredibly annoying and humorous at the same time.

I remember…

How hard I laughed…

How incredibly carefree I felt…

and the warmth of joy in that moment.

In a crowd  of hundreds of people, I felt like the luckiest kid in the candy store – not because of what I had found, but what it caused me to see.

I knew the joy I was feeling had nothing to do with our circumstances or human effort. It was a completely free gift from God in the form of a funny-looking tree with enormous green eyes. Yes, our God loves us like that and it’s awesome! Don’t miss it.

That tree helped me through a Christmas where I was a first-time mom and completely in-between jobs (but at that point I had no clue what was next…yet). I remember one evening after my baby boy had drifted off to sleep, coming downstairs to see that tree, unplugged and still. I smiled. This Christmas was filled with so much uncertainty, yet God brought joy through a tiny, little tree.

God made Himself known.

God revealed that He was with us and saw my uncertainty.

God showed me that our family was not walking this road alone.

More than anything, God used this tree to show me that He can and will meet all of our needs.

Today, our boys are ages 4, 7 and 9. We started decorating Thanksgiving night. The big Christmas tree was up and decorated. We found the ornaments, shattered a few and even left room at the bottom just in case our little puppies get a little too curious with our tree. We found the stockings and the 3 manger scenes (more about that later). We found the slew of Christmas books and even my emoji Christmas t-shirt (don’t ask!).

But my middle kiddo realized we were missing the “singing tree.”

We searched for a good 30 minutes and with no success my heart honestly began to sink.

It’s a stupid little annoying singing Christmas tree. I shouldn’t be this upset…but here I am.

I had cleaned a part of our garage in January and donated many bags to Goodwill and friends who needed our piles of junk…I mean, treasures of course. Silently I wondered if I had accidentally donated the bag with our precious singing friend. Even though my husband was tired, I think he realized deep down how much our family loved this particular tree and so he kept up the search. Sure enough the bag was found in another section of our piled garage.

Christmas can now officially commence!

But that’s what Stones of Remembrance do for us. Just like Moses placed stones of remembrance on the other side of the Red Sea after the Israelites crossed on dry ground (see Exodus 14:1-32), we can purposely set apart items that help us see God at work in our lives, especially at Christmas. Our kids know the story behind the “singing tree” and they love it retold. Every year I see them gathered around this tree, it makes my heart full as I flashback to the first moment we met over 9 years ago.

God, You make me smile!

I keep reminding my boys that we have no clue how old this tree is and that it may be nearing the end of its life. Yet, I have a feeling we will still have a place for it in our house. Even without it singing a note, it will continue to sing in our hearts.

Let’s Chat:

Do you have any “Stones of Remembrance” in your home this Christmas? Please share in the comments below!

About the Author Bethany

Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!

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Janet Shelton says November 29, 2017

God does make us smile. I have several small things that I will always keep. No one else would want them but they hold a special memory for me.


    Bethany says November 29, 2017

    Love this Janet! I think it’s a great conversation starter with these little Stones that we keep! Thanks for joining in the conversation this week!

Edith says November 29, 2017

Wow! This is such a warm and encouraging story, Bethany! Only God knows what can lift our spirits and it may not be something exotic or expensive. Halleluia!

    Bethany says November 29, 2017

    Edith – yes! God is so good! Isn’t it funny what He uses to get our attention?! Thanks for being a part of the chat here this week!

Emily says November 29, 2017

What a beautiful story! I don’t necessarily have any Christmas decorations I would consider a stone of remembrance, but I definitely have items in my home that remind me of God’s faithfulness.

    Bethany says November 29, 2017

    Emily – any item in your house that can represent God’s faithfulness can be a stone of Remembrance. The stones Moses piled-up at the edge of the Red Sea were just normal rocks. But to the people, they held special meaning. Your stones hold special meaning too! Thanks for being a part of the conversation here this week!

SUSAN SHIPE says December 1, 2017

Love your posts! You are a fun Mom.

    Bethany says December 1, 2017

    Thank you friend! It was great seeing you here this week!

Valerie says December 1, 2017

Just the other day my husband bought an annoying Santa that plays the piano because “that’s what his dad would do.” The kids love it. His dad passed in 2008. He would always come home with a funny singing Christmas toy for his grandkids. In fact, we inherited an annoying singing Christmas tree 🤣. I loved your post and it reminded me how the little things remind us of warm memories and Christmas joy where we least expect it. We used to have a tickle me Elmo too! Visiting from Hope Writers.

    Bethany says December 1, 2017

    I love this so much Valarie! It would be hysterical to get out singing Christmas trees together for a party! I’m so glad to see someone out there has fun Stones of Remembrance like we do!

Anita Ojeda says December 1, 2017

I love quirky family traditions! And it’s so important to remember our journeys that we might know the mighty acts of the Lord.

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