‘Teach them (God’s words) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up‘.
Horse-drawn carriages, glamorous costumes, the grandeur of the old buildings, a slower pace of life, an era we never lived in – these are some of the things that I find intriguing about the BBC series Downton Abbey.
I love getting to know the characters as they weave through events that capture my imagination of a time gone by. It’s so interesting to see a portrayal of a family set in a time of great leaps in innovation such as the invention of electricity, light bulbs, the telephone and the motor car which changed the world as they knew it, and then to see the devastation of the first world war and how it affected families and levelled the different classes of the day.
I look at the younger generations today and wonder if they even consider what life was like before iPods, iPhones, Facebook, and texting. Do they think about a time when none of that existed, or is it taken for granted that it must have always been there for they’ve never known life without it.
My mother-in-law has been arranging a recount of events that happened around her parents wedding. Set just after World War Two, it was wonderful to read a real life account of life back then.
Iris (the bride) had to save a years worth of rations to pay for the material needed to make her wedding dress, two bridesmaids gowns and two flower girl dresses but even then, there was not enough left over to make the long dreamed of train for the wedding dress which had to be sacrificed.
The town they lived in was very cold at the time of the wedding and flowers had to be transported to Warwick from Brisbane. Unfortunately, communications broke down and the flowers never arrived.
Transport was so expensive that the only family member on the groom’s side to attend was Harry’s Dad but then he had to leave early to get home before the cold set in.
Once on their honeymoon, Harry and Iris were the only passengers on a 14 hour freight train journey to Brisbane. They had to change trains at 3am and were exhausted when they finally arrived at their destination on Sunday morning. However, they still managed to make it to the 11am church service at the Salvation Army.
During the honeymoon week, Harry fell sick with what is believed to have been a relapse of Malaria from when he had it in the war. Iris nursed him to health and then he was back to work the following week. It was certainly not a glamorous or easy start to their marriage nor was it the end of their trials, but their marriage of sixty five years is a testament to how God brought them through very tough times together.
Some of our most precious possessions are photos and stories of days gone by. We tell them to our children so they can see where we’ve come from and how God has brought our family through adversity generation after generation.
In Deuteronomy chapter 4, God spoke to the Israelites before they entered the land that God had promised them. He told them to remember what their children have not witnessed, ‘Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of The Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm…‘ (Verse 2). ‘It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place’ (verse 5)…’but it was your own eyes that saw all these great things The Lord has done,‘ (Verse 7).
Perhaps one of the greatest tools we can epuip our children with in life are stories. Stories of how God brought us through our own wilderness, how He is a faithful God and although he disciplines us, He will bring us to our promised land whether here or in the life to come.
‘…be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’ – Deuteronomy chapter 4 verse 9.
First published in Christian Today Australia 24 May, 2013
(c) Rebecca Moore 2013