eCare - Passing It Down

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eCare - Passing It Down

Dear Friends in Christ,

My son is relocating his cabinet shop to a new facility more convenient to his home (and mine!) so we are in the process of moving.  If you think “boxing up” a household is a handful try moving a manufacturing shop – machinery, hardware, coatings, hand tools, shelving, cabinets, power tools…what a production!

I say that only by way of prediction because we really haven’t gotten to that stage yet.  Earlier this week it took us four hours just to move the lumber – hundreds of board feet of cherry, black walnut, poplar, pine and oak, much of which was purchased at an auction in Ohio and some of which remains from past cabinet and remodeling jobs.  Off the wood racks and into the trucks…dismantle the wood racks and load them in the trucks…drive 10-15 miles to the new location with loads shifting along the way…reassemble the racks…reload the lumber…whew!

On a number of trips between the truck and the racks I carried pieces of lumber that were familiar to me, pieces of black walnut, some no larger than an 8.5x11 inch binder but others much larger.  They were familiar to me because I had given them to Jason years ago.  And I had them to give to Jason because they had been first given to me by my friend Bill Mehaffey.  Not long after we moved to Pittsburgh Bill’s company moved locations in downtown Pittsburgh.  Evidently, they had a beautiful boardroom that was paneled in black walnut.  When Bill ascertained that the paneling would be destroyed he determined to give some of it to me; and that’s just what he did.

From time to time Bill would come home from the office with his briefcase and his umbrella in one hand and a piece of black walnut in the other.  I always wished I could have observed him at 6 PM riding on the bus on West Liberty Avenue with a length of lumber stuck between his legs; would have been even more fun to observe those who were observing him!

I used some of the walnut for a project of my own and then, just as Bill had done for me I passed it down to Jason who will put it to good use, just as he has done before.  The Bethlehem Star that we use for our Advent candle lighting each year was made by Jason, in part, with paduak wood that he got from me, who got it from Bill, who got it from his father, who got it from Russ Powell, a long-time hobbyist woodworker and member of Beverly Heights.  Passing it down – it’s what we do!

I was thinking about all of the passing down as I was carrying board after board of lumber the other night.  People who have something of value, of quality, a treasure who pass it down to someone else are those who are good stewards of the gifts which God has given to them.  And that’s part of what this season is all about…passing down a most precious treasure.

Earlier this week Mary was reflecting on her years in education, first, as a public school teacher, then as a preschool owner/operator and finally, as a Christian school principal for over 20 years.  Though she has many fond memories of her work as a teacher the one thing she definitely does not miss since her retirement is the stress associated with “getting a Christmas program together every year.  The parents are stressed, the teachers are stressed, the kids are stressed…everybody is stressed just to produce yet another Christmas performance.  I’m glad to be done with that part of the job!”

That is not to say that there isn’t value to be found in the Christmas program when the focus is on the true meaning of Christmas and when the focus is not upon the memorization, the costumes, the songs, the staging, etc.  A children’s Christmas program is successful and well worth the effort it takes to produce it when it is a means of passing down the great, good news of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.  Passing down God’s story, passing down the message of hope, passing down the reality of life eternal through the coming of God’s Son is what the church is all about in its proclamation to children and adults alike.

And therein lays a key to the Christmas program, a key that our own Lisa Tyger understands, possesses and turns in and through all of the children’s ministries she directs.  The Maranatha Party, the Birthday Party for Jesus and the Advent Family Celebration are not performances; they are proclamations.  They are the means by which the church which possesses the greatest story the world has ever known passes down to our children the proclamation that because Jesus is born the world can have hope by coming to Him in believing faith.

Passing down this wondrous treasure is a vital, you might say “singularly essential” task associated with good parenting.  Are you ensuring that your kids have this good news passed down to them during this glorious season of the year?  Are you passing it down to others in your family, your neighborhood, at school, at work?

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.  I Corinthians 4:1-2

Faithfully in Him,

Rick