When I was a child, my mother often told me stories of how she and her brothers and sisters played together in their small Nebraska town during the 1930s and 40s. They had very few toys, and had to make up most of the games they played. I always enjoyed the stories, even when she told them again and again.

My dear mother passed away over five years ago. During the last fifteen years of her life, she wrote on and off in a journal, setting on paper some of the stories that she had told us. She was not trying to write a best-seller or something that would ever be published. She just wanted to put on paper information about herself that would endure after she was gone. She claimed that the stories were for her grandchildren, so they would know something about her. But when I was shown this journal after she died, I saw also that what she had written had an impact on me.

I don’t have a video of her telling her stories. I don’t have an audiotape or any other recording of it. I just have her written words. And with what she has written, I have a very real part of her that is still with me, and which will remain with me until we meet again in heaven. It is a special gift that I wish I had known of before she was gone, so I could have asked that she add more to it.

In the same way that this gift of a written journal has kept the memory of my mother more strongly alive, I have also a much more valuable narrative. The words that were left for me in the Old and New Testament tell me of God, and the story of His people through thousands of years, and the way He provided a way for me to know Him here on this earth, before I get to know him forever in the eternity to come. I found that some of what my mother wrote stuck deeply in me; the words and truth of God’s story have done all that and so much more.

Long before I knew of my mother’s written life story, I knew the song Heirlooms, by Amy Grant, from A Christmas Album, released back in 1983. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard that song, and it speaks again to me, as I remember the heirloom gift my mother left for her family, and that my God left for all of us.

(Words and Music by Bob Farrell, Brown Bannister, and Amy Grant)

Up in the attic,
Down on my knees.
Lifetimes of boxes,
Timeless to me.
Letters and photographs,
Yellowed with years,
Some bringing laughter,
Some bringing tears.

Time never changes,
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me,
All that I come from,
And all that I live for,
And all that I’m going to be.
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me.

Wise men and shepherds,
Down on their knees,
Bringing their treasures
To lay at His feet.
Who was this wonder,
Baby yet King?
Living and dying;
He gave life to me.

Time never changes,
The memory, the moment
His love first pierced through me,
Telling all that I came from,
And all that I live for,
And all that I’m going to be.
My precious Savior
Is more than an heirloom to me.

My precious Jesus
Is more than an heirloom to me.

A Christmas Album, Amy Grant, 1983

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