13 June 2011

Milestones and Symbols

“LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have
accomplished you have done for us.” – Isaiah 26:12

Throughout our lives there are milestones along the journey that help us remember the path we’ve walked. Our parents tell us (and anyone else that will listen), the stories of how and when we achieved each developmental stage of our early years. Some of our developmental milestones might have included the first time we rolled over, the first time we sat up, our first step and our first words. As we grew up, our milestones changed and became the significant events, and celebrations in our lives. Birthdays, our first band concert, holidays, sports events, gymnastic class, science fair, first date, school programs, prom, and graduation are just some of the events. Life continued and so did the special times... college, marriage, children and the cycle continues.

Think back, how did your family celebrate your life? What keepsakes or symbols do you have commemorating those milestones? I remember when I was growing up my grandparents gave me a charm bracelet, and for special occasions I received a new charm to add to the bracelet. Other special items included my Girl Scout badges, trophies, medals, my class ring, and my High School diploma, and of course, who can forget the yearbooks. I’ve kept many keepsakes and enjoy taking them out from time to time.... they bring back such wonderful memories. These special events, these milestones are what make us the person we are today.

There is one other type of milestone that has a huge impact on our life. These are spiritual milestones. We all know what a big deal these events can be, and we often celebrate them as a church family. Spiritual milestones represent our faith journey and include events such as our baptism, confirmation, first communion, and marriage, just to name a few. These are more than ceremonies, they become part of our testimony. Many times we are given or acquire keepsakes or symbols relating to our spiritual milestones. I still have my very first Bible, a King James Version that was given to me at Sunday School when I was a child. I also have a cross with my name engraved on it, representing 10 years of service in our church choir. These are just two of the items I cherish from the earliest days of my walk with Christ.

What are some of your spiritual milestones?  Do you have any items commemorating those milestones?

Milestones play an important role in our lives. They are simple reminders of where we’ve been and what we’ve done along the journey. The events themselves are the most important part of the milestone, but for a Christian, a public display of certain milestones can let others know that we willingly share our faith. Maybe it’s a time-worn Bible, a favorite wedding picture taken in the church, or your favorite cross that you never take off. I have a thumb ring engraved with the Christian fish symbol (Ichthus), that I never take off. People have commented on it many times and it has been a great conversation starter... an opportunity for me to share my faith.

Symbols have been used in various cultures and contexts, as far back as the early Christians. Here are a few examples of Christian symbols and their meanings:

CROSS: The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity. While anyone--even pagans--now use the cross as decoration or as an occult symbol, Christians continue to treasure the cross of Calvary.

DOVE: This is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, from the account of Jesus' baptism (John 1:32-34). It also represents peace. One of the most ancient symbols of peace is the olive branch. The dove and olive branch was used by early Christians and became current in the 18th century.

ICHTHUS - The Greek word for fish, is a Christian symbol for Christ. During the persecution of the early church, this symbol was used because it was not obvious that it was a religious sign. When someone was a Christian they would draw an arc in the sand and then upon meeting another Christian, the other person would complete the drawing of a fish with a second arc. That way if the other person was not Christian, they would not be aware that the first one was Christian.

LAMB: The lamb represents Christ and innocence. It also represents faith, because Abraham was going to kill his son Isaac, and was sent a lamb instead.

BUTTERFLY: Reminds Christians of the amazing transformation that takes place through Christ's redemption and regeneration... a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

RAINBOW: The rainbow is a symbol of hope, holiness and faithfulness. God used a rainbow as a covenant with Noah and the rest of the world.

Don’t forget to celebrate your milestones.... past, present and future. Feel free to share your milestones in the comment section on my blog - they are part of your journey, your story and your testimony.

Blessings for a week filled with cherished moments.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I
was forty, I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an
older friend consoled me, “Don’t complain about growing old –
many, many people do not have that privilege.”  - Earl Warren


Maxine said...

Donna- I just remember my DAD taking me to church and thinking how special it was sitting with him in those wooden pews!

My most memorable MILESTONE of course was EMMAUS - April of 98'. I know you understand that one!! Much Love to YOU!

Kathi said...


I remember so many spiritual milestones and my heart just soars when I think of them. I was raised in a very strict Catholic home where I received Baptism, Communion and Confirmation but I did not receive my first Bible until I was almost 40 years old. My wonderful, loving, Christian "boss" back in California took me to a Christian book store during our lunch break and bought me my first Bible with my name engraved on it. I have always cherished it. And a few years later, I met my Christian Sis, Lorraine who invited me to her non-denominational church and that was when I really fell in love with the Lord and the Bible. I loved the way they would worship and sing praise. My heart and soul was forever, deeply changed...

I am Big Sis, Lorraine's, "first fruit." Since I got such a late start with the Bible, it's always a milestone for me when I can recite a Scripture or learn a new one. Just learning where the books are in the Bible is huge for me...

Thank you for reminding me of my milestones and how far I have come with my "Walk with the Lord"...

Have a Blessed Week, "Sis2"..
Lv & Hugs,
Kathi..Little Sis

Donna Weaver said...

Maxine.... I remember our family going to church every Sunday and dad always wanted to sit in the front row so he could stretch out his legs. How embarrassing, since there were 9 of us.... we took up an entire pew:)

My Via de Cristo weekend was one of a lifechanging milestone too! The start of a different type of relationship with God.

Love the memories and realizing how far I've come in my spiritual journey... and still a long way to go!

Thanks for always being so encouraging. Peace, Donna

Donna Weaver said...

Kathi... Good to hear from you! What a great story about your first Bible and first fruits. A group of friends gave me my first study Bible for my 50th birthday. It is well loved and I feel comfortable searching it's pages. I do cheat alittle... I added index tabs. When I'm in a Bible study group it is much quicker to find what I'm looking for. I love Beth Moore studies and she moves around the Bible pretty fast... my tabs help me keep up LOL.

I grew up in a small traditional Lutheran Church, but over the years I have gone to more Contemporary churches. I love praise and worship music so I prefer the contemporary services, even though I still enjoy a good old traditional hymn.

What is your favorite Bible verse(s)? My is Psalm 139.... I feel God giving me encouragement and reassurance in those words. He knows every hair on my head, and I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I don't always believe that... but that verse continues to tell me that I am loved by God just as I am.

Have a blessed week... and remember to seek the "peace."

In His Grace,
Donna (Sis2)

Michele Cushatt said...

Wonderful blog, Donna! Way to go! Keep writing ... you get better and better each time. :) ~ M

Donna Weaver said...

Thanks Michele.... your encouragement means alot:)