Ancient Paths

You guys know how we like to collect ornaments from places we travel to decorate our Christmas tree, right? And remember this post I did about all the ornaments we picked up from each city in Italy? Right, well, apparently I forgot one. Because I came across it in some of our old luggage this weekend. Ha!

xmas ornament from italy

Ready for Greek lesson? The letters in the middle are the Greek letters “Chi” (X) and “Rho” (R) which are the first two letters of “Christos” or as we know Him, “Christ”. The Greek letters on each side are “Alpha” and “Omega” which stand for “beginning and end” because they are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (much like A-Z for us). So essentially this means “Christ, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Christians in the first century used symbols like this in much of their early art. We saw quite a lot of it in the Christian catacombs we visited in Rome. Which is actually where we bought this ornament. So there you go, those four semesters of Greek I took in college are still paying off. 😉

appian way (3)

I know I blogged about this when I did our Italy re-cap, but coming across this ornament today has me thinking about the things we saw and experienced while at the Christian catacombs.

appian way (2)

For example, it was pretty cool how the ancient and new came together in this place. This is a modern water fountain at the Christian catacombs just off the Ancient Appian Way. Clean, fresh, filtered water. Giving life. In a place where we remember the dead.

appian way

And these are our Chaco-clad feet in 2013 standing on a road built in 312 BC. The Ancient Appian Way was not the most majestic thing we saw on our Italy trip, but it was awe-inspiring in a different way. This was Rome’s oldest and greatest road. And when I say “Rome” I don’t mean the city, but what was then the entire civilized world. It was so surreal to be walking on this road and thinking of all the 2,325 years worth of people who have walked this same road. From victors returning from war to perhaps even the Apostle Paul {Acts 28:13-15}.

appian way

The Ancient Appian Way reminded me of a scripture that I often use as a loose guideline for decision making because it talks about asking for the “ancient paths.” And let me tell you, the Ancient Appian Way is… well… ancient. Ha!

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jeremiah 6:16

So when I have a big decision to make I stand at the crossroads for a moment. I stop and look and evaluate my options. I consider what others have done in the past and how that has worked out for them. I ask mentors and people I respect for advice on what “the good way” is. I pray a lot. And then I go for it. I walk in that way. And I feel at peace about my decision. 🙂 {I actually have  a lot more to say about this and the context it was written in, but this post is so long already, haha!}

appian way (5)

This is us in August of 2013 on the Ancient Appian Way which was built in 312 BC. Ancient path indeed. 🙂

How do you make difficult decisions?
Have you ever been to a place where the history of it is awe inspiring?
Love Rach


29 responses to “Ancient Paths

  1. I want to hear more! Love this post!

    • What’s really sad about that passage in scripture is what comes next. The very next line after I cut off is, “But you said ‘We will not walk in it’.” Which is just heart breaking. The whole section of scripture is talking about what happens when a people choose to not follow God. But I don’t ever want to be that way. I want to always stand at the crossroads and look. To ask and pray. And then to walk in the good way.

  2. This post is such a cool combination of history and modern. You have a great method for making decisions when you come to a crossroads.

  3. I loveeee this! I wish I would have known more history before going to Rome. I knew it was ancient and amazing… But I would have loved to know all the biblical significance of the places I was visiting!

  4. Don’t ever worry about your post being too long! If no one else, I love reading them. 🙂

  5. I love that you got ornaments from all over Italy! I have tried to get them when we travel places, but we don’t travel often 🙂 Sounds like you had an amazing trip.


    • It was an amazing trip! I’m so ready to go back already, haha! And I picked up the ornament habit from my mom. She used to pick up ornaments from places we traveled so as we decorated the tree every year, we got to talk about our favorite trips. It was such a fun memory that I wanted to continue it for my kids someday! 🙂

  6. I felt like this when we were in Rome a couple of weeks ago. The history of it all was just incredible.

  7. What a cute idea about doing ornaments to remind you of your travels.

    I think the place out of everywhere that I felt the most “power” was when we were in Turkey at the house of the virgin mary. We both could leave notes in the wall and make a wish. The funny thing was – my husband and I made the same wish… To have the best life ever.

  8. I love standing near (or in your case, ‘on’) places that have stood the test of time and that have withstood so many passing years. It’s amazing to realize that so many people have passed through there… and that now you are too! As for decisions, I tend to take a very similar route. I pray about it a whole lot, and I also ask others for their advise on similar decisions they made.

    • Yikes! I can’t believe I forgot to say “pray” on that list. I edited it! That’s part of “asking for the ancient paths” – I just forgot to put the word in there, ha! And that’s by far the most important part of it. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Such a cool feeling to be standing in a place that holds so much history!!! I love that you got ornaments everywhere in Italy you went. I can’t wait to see your tree at Christmas time!!!

  10. This is such a neat post, and a great metaphor! Your ornament reminds me of the campus ministry group that my husband and I were in during college–Chi Alpha (abbreviated XA). Everyone always thought it was a sorority or fraternity or something because of the Greek letters, but it wasn’t!

  11. I remember how cool it was to stand in the streets of Amsterdam, and I can only imagine how excited I would be in Italy! Love the ornament.

  12. you’re a wise lady – i love how you take time to ask other people how they would act, and then take time to yourself to pray and reflect. i’m betting you make the right choice pretty often 🙂

  13. This is so cool! I love the Greek lesson…Steve took some Greek in college too, but he doesn’t remember much. And girl, your decision making process is so good; I’m curious to hear more! I’m really stubborn when it comes to asking people for advice/what works for them, because I want the decision to feel like “mine”. I’m learning that I can make much smarter choices when I consult God and other people too.

    • The “more” I referenced actually has to do with the context of that particular scripture. It’s sad because the very next line after I cut off is, “But you said ‘We will not walk in it’.” Which is just heart breaking. The whole section of scripture is talking about what happens when a people choose to not follow God. But I don’t ever want to be that way. I want to always stand at the crossroads and look. To ask and pray. And then to walk in the good way.

      And you know, there are definitely some people that I take advice from better than others. And it’s always easier if I’ve ASKED for the advice, instead of it being unsolicited. I figure just because I ask someone’s advice, though, it doesn’t mean I have to agree. I can take it with a grain of salt knowing that their story is different than mine. Sometimes I even get conflicting advice and that’s where discernment really comes in. It’s just helpful to talk to people who’ve “been there, done that”, you know? 🙂

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