When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.
He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own. William Cushing, (1856)
On the breastplate of his garment, God stipulated that Israel’s high priest wear designated jewels as he performed his priestly intercession for them in the tabernacle. They symbolized the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. The stones were set in four rows of three:
ruby, topaz, beryl;
turquoise, sapphire, emerald;
jacinth, agate, amethyst;
chrysolite, onyx and jasper.
They were mounted on gold filigree settings and on each stone was engraved the name of a tribe. They must have reflected the light of the Holy Place beautifully. Worn over the priest’s heart, these precious stones represented a beloved community.
Often people will wear family rings with the birthstones of their children set into them. Like the priests, parents who love the Lord sacrifice and intercede for their children, prayers that often began while they were yet unborn.
The family tree pictured above, handmade by our grandchildren, was a Christmas gift with special meaning. Though it was not made with costly gems, it reminds us of the precious people in our lives. We think of each other, belong with each other, care for each other no matter how far apart our physical distance. We are connected by its branches.
God “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). Even when our biological families fall short of ideal, we are all invited to become a part of the family of God, always loved, always welcome. And, like beautiful jewels, always treasured.