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Christmas Eve 2018 at Carversville

Posted by griffithd on December 24, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Christmas Eve 2018 Solebury, Pennsylvania

 

For as many years as we have lived here, Christmas Eve dinner has been at the Carversville Inn. We know the owners, our kids went to school together, and the hostess holds our reservation made in June without conformation. It is crowded, year after year we see the same faces, children once small people now have their own wee ones. My good friend Bill will send drinks to the table as he has every year.

Most years we will have come from the Christmas Pageant at Trinity Solebury. A service filled with familiar noise, carols, and a story as old as our tradition. It is a time when I reflect on family, friends, the woman I love, and I am grateful for my life.


I am also mindful that time is finite. Christmas Eve is also the birthday of my good friend Ian, and while he is no longer physically with us, he is very much present. His woodwork is throughout the church and my office holds several of his carvings and boat models. I will visit his marker today with one of his sons and we will break bread in some local dive. We will remember and laugh and talk about his future.


This is also a time when I think about the good men and women I have worked with and with those whom I still roll up my sleeves and put on my muddy boot. I think about the people of Modern, the folks at J.J. Haines, Hoober, Verus, Dad’s Hat, Delaware Valley Floral Group and the Academy of Natural Science. People I know well and who have their own families and holiday traditions. I am proud to be associated with them and for the companies and organizations they run and the services and products they provide. All good and decent people, and like all of us, with challenges and dreams for the future.


I am also especially appreciative for the women and men of Episcopal Community Services where I currently serve. I am humbled by their example and called to our common work in this I suspect my last professional chapter. Also very much on my mind as I gather with my family this Christmas Eve, are the people we serve at ECS.


Carversville is a long way from West Philadelphia, or Camden, or Trenton, or Chester, or Darby. But the contrast that matters is not what you might think. Yes, these are communities where poverty is pervasive with all that brings. However, these are also communities of families with dreams, challenges, and hopes for their children. Many of the individuals I meet are the most irrepressible folks I know; they have to be to persevere. Good and decent people for whom access to real opportunity has not been available and that is the painful contrast that matters between us. In many ways it is the root cause of much of poverty. Access to opportunity leads to employment with a living wage and the way out of poverty is steady employment with a living wage and benefits. Just like everyone, I suspect, sitting down at Carversville tonight.


Our work at ECS, and I hope yours, this season and in all seasons is to coach, train, and help create opportunity for individuals in poverty so they can live their own dream and meet their own challenges. Our work at ECS is underway in this space as we launch our new program “MindSet” in the new year, ecsphilly.org/mindset.


This work will not be done in my lifetime, but along with many organizations in this sector, it is a start to move away from programs that maintain to programs that drive change in individual lives.

 

So as another Christmas Eve marks the calendar I am grateful for the many blessings bestowed on me and my family.

 

Perhaps the biggest is the ability to bestow such blessings on others and that is perchance the real lesson of Christmas Eve.


Peace.

 

Categories: Muddy Boots, Griffith Thoughts

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