Listening to the sounds of Dad and Mom visiting with my Grossmom Siemens seemed like a lullaby. They spoke in Plautt Dietch (Low German). There were enough English words spoken, I understood.
One Christmas Eve memory stays with me. Despite the mailman schedule Dad kept, we were able to travel to the Suderman Farmhouse. Christmas Eve began the celebration with the family gathered in the parlor. We enjoyed the program of music, pieces, and scripture with the children and the grandchildren. My Aunts and Uncles sang O Holy Night and other Christmas carols in harmony. Next, came the reading of Luke 2, the story of the birth of Jesus. The family knelt for prayer, and each one prayed.
It was difficult for me to stay awake with such a large family praying. I finally opened my eyes and looked around. Everyone knelt in one accord and purpose. It is a mind-picture over eighty years old and still as clear and bright as it was that evening.
Many years later, I read in Mother’s Book, “The Lines are Fallen,” about the prayers of my Great-Grandfather Jacob Suderman. His daughter overheard him praying for each of his children and grandchildren by name in his bedroom. (Page 18). He cared deeply for each one’s spiritual welfare. He came to this country to worship God freely.
Mother told me, my Grandmother Anna, often prayed for me. In her room, she prayed for each of her children and grandchildren by name. I have often remembered and drew comfort knowing my Grandmother loved me so. Generation after generation of trusting in God is a beautiful heritage for a child.
Our Lord God sets a great importance to names. Names have meanings. Why did God entrust Adam to name all the animals? Why else would God Himself name each star? God has spent time with each baby conceived. Psalm 139:13-18. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11.
While I was in elementary school, I received a pair of brown mittens knitted by my Great-Grandmother Loewen. I still have one mitten and it is a reminder of the love she gave freely. Mother taught me the thank you word to use in my thank-you letter to Great-Grandmother Loewen, “Danke du”. After seventy-three years later, as I thought about the love hiding in the warmth of the mittens, thoughtfulness, and prayer nestled in each stitch. This one mitten is a reminder of family love, from generation to generation. How much richer is the greater heritage of faith this woman bequeathed. My understanding of “Nach Kommen” – those who come after came from the stories of yesteryear.
It is how we live, teach our children, and pray for them with God’s love in our hearts that makes the difference generation after generation. When we read the recorded Word of our Lord, we understand the richness of heritage that lies in the continuous faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We talk about the word, Inheritance. It usually has to do with money. I remember my Father’s words one day. “I may not leave you a lot of money when I die, but I leave you my good name! Guard it well.” As the years roll by since his death, I understand more clearly what he meant. When we live a life of love and peace in Christ Jesus, blessings come.
Jesus knew the only way to be His Followers from generation to generation is by loving others. We forget so easily. The two verses in Matthew 19:14-15, are about the encounter of Jesus with children:
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus, so he could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And He placed His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left.
The disciples did not know or understand. Children grow up. Neglect can break the chain of faith from generation to generation. Who will love “those who come after?”
Isaiah 59:20. “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Psalm 139:23-24. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O, God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
Psalm 71:17-19. O, God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God?
Deuteronomy 11:18-2.1 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.