It’s something I don’t see as often anymore, but as a child I remember many of my Christian friends having giant family Bibles on display in their homes.
Now these were hardly practical, easy-to-use Bibles. We had one ourselves that we displayed atop our massive 1970s stereo cabinet — the one with the radio, record and 8-track player, and avocado green speakers . I think surely that Bible weighed about one quarter-ton, and I feared losing my balance and being crushed beneath its weight if I tried to pull it down on my own. It was white with gold-embossed lettering and page trim, and it contained two sections of color photographs of Renaissance paintings which probably should have been rated PG-13.
And every family Bible like this I ever saw was pretty much the same.
Some people used them to record important dates or events. Ours was mostly just for decorative purposes. No one actually tried to read it — I mean, set that thing in your lap to read and your legs were likely to fall sleep!
But it was a symbol. Its presence in a conspicuous spot in our formal living room reminded us and all who visited our home that the things contained within that book were vitally important to our family. It represented our devotion to Christ and the commitment of our family to serve Him.
A couple of years ago I read Voddie Bauchum’s book, “Family-Driven Faith,” a book I highly recommend to anyone who wishes to emphasize Christian discipleship within the home. But one of the things that stood out to me most in that book was his discussion of his mother’s Buddhism, and how as a child her Buddhist practices touched all five of his senses, leaving such a mark upon his memory. He and his mother both would later become Christians, but the sights and sounds and even the smells he encountered as she practiced her religion had a profound impact upon him as a boy. Bauchum’s point, of course, was that our Christianity should do the same: Our faith in Christ should impact every area of our home and family, including our senses.
Something in me was challenged when I read that.
Now we have always been a practicing Christian family, meaning we practice our faith. That seems like a “duh-ism”, until you consider how many people actually claim to be Christian, and yet their faith in no way affects how they live their lives or how they make decisions.
Our home is decidedly Christian and our faith affects every area of our lives: We practice prayer and Bible reading. Our Christianity is a huge part of why we homeschool. We attend church and the things we read, listen to, and watch, and the places we go are all directly affected by our faith.
And yet, when I read that book, I realized there weren’t many visual symbols of Christianity in our home. We had Bibles, of course, and Christian books galore, but I realized then that I really wanted something more.
Now my decorating style impacted how I approached it. I mean, a Renaissance painting of a Bible event would be as out of place in my homey Kentucky decor as a Japanese gong would be, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t find items that fit with my taste and style. And I was thrifty with it, too! While I would love to invest in some of the gorgeous, scripture-covered wall art at my local Christian bookstore, it’s not always practical or affordable
But I started seeking out little symbols… small, inexpensive items I could add to my home just to add constant reminders of our Savior and our faith. I started looking for decor with references to God or to scripture, and I purchased small crosses that are now scattered throughout our home. Even now I never miss the home decor clearance sections at all the Bible bookstores, and I love looking through the huge inventory of Christian decorating items at Hobby Lobby. Even our local Family Dollar Store has offered very pretty Christian items at very reasonable prices.
There is no power in these symbols. They are not objects of worship or forms of deity. They are symbols that point to our faith in Christ.
God Himself instituted the use of symbols to remind His people of His acts, His faithfulness, and His words. In Deuteronomy 6:9 He instructed His people to write His words on the doorposts of their house and on their gates. In Joshua 4:1-7, God tells Joshua to place 12 stones in the Jordan where God had parted the waters for His people, as “a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” The Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple were both replete with significant symbols, and the feasts Jews observe even today are full of symbolism. Jesus instructed His disciples in the symbols of baptism and communion, the first as a representation of death to sin and resurrection to new life, and the second in remembrance of His sacrifice for sin. Granted, these are not all symbols we can place in our homes, but they were deliberately placed or practiced so that they brought to mind God’s acts, His words, and His faithfulness to His people.
I want to do the same in subtle ways in my home. No, nothing will take the place of me actively living out my Christian faith before my children, but I love having symbols that remind my own family and anyone who visits here just Whose we are and Whom we serve as believers in Christ.
You’ll find this post linked up with some of these great blogs:
Making Your Home Sing Monday, The Modest Mom Link Up, Inspiration Monday, The Art of Homemaking, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Titus 2 Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, Tutorial Tuesday, Inspire Me Tuesday, Homemaking Linkup, Wise Woman Linkup, The Mommy Club, Wholehearted Wednesday, A Little R & R, The Homemaking Party, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Think Tank Thursday, Create-It Thursday, From House to Home, Growing in Grace Thursday, Faith-Filled Friday, Family Fun Friday, Friendship Friday, Inspiration Spotlight, Pretty Pintastic, Grace and Truth Link Up, Family Friendship and Faith Friday