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Life in Greencastle - Gift

About this time last year, while we were making preparations to move back to Greencastle, we were gathering our belongings and reaching out to friends. We were going through the hard process of saying goodbye and saying thanks for all that people had done for us. And in the midst of all that leave-taking, a friend and gentlemen named Rick Ford who had spent most of his life in Owensboro came to my office at the church.

In the short years we were in Owensboro, Rick and I shared many a good meal and conversation. But, I could never imagine or predict the gift he was to give me that day he arrived at the church.

Rick entered my office with a staff, a slender pole standing about five feet high, and upon handing it to me, he told me about this gift that he himself had carved for me. It was made of Dogwood, that flowering tree that is popular in this region of our land, and Rick had smoothed all but an eight inch section near the top - the very place I could place my hand to sturdy myself for a walk in the woods. And at the top of the staff, he kindly added a few more scores in the wood: just the initials "W. K." Truly it was personalized.

I still use the gift, of course ... for walks in the wood and around the Nature Park. And, everytime I place it in my palm I am reminded of one man's care and thoughtfulness. I am so grateful.

Maybe it is because I had that staff in my hand on Monday, or maybe it is just because Christmas is drawing near, but I'm thinking about gifts today. And the thought strikes me now: Oh, the care and thoughtfulness of our God who gave us a gift we could not expect, but needed dearly. I think about how much time Rick spent crafting a gift for me, and then I think about the time God spent crafting the gift for the wholeness of humanity.

From way back when the first pain of transgression was felt, when death closed the eyelids of Adam and Eve ... God began to work.
From the moment God sought out Abram and Sarai and down on through the unexpected children and grandchildren ... God worked away at his plan.
Through the shepherd boy grown to be a king and the King that would come from his line ... God was putting shape and form to the gift.
All the way through the prophets who began to catch glimpses of what God was doing behind the scenes, in his workshop ... God was nearing an unveiling.

Then, in the fullness of time, the gift was revealed. Unto us: a child of peace, a savior of the nations. We shall call him Jesus.

Such care. Such thoughtfulness. Such grace.

Thanks be to God,



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