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Treasures Where our Hearts are

You can listen to this week’s Devotional here

Author: Laura McCutchen


We don’t live off the land like shepherds, watching the seasonal movement of stars. Instead, we inhabit hand-crafted buildings, warmed by electronics rather than body heat of animals. Our ability to visit distant lands, far beyond our own neighborhood, places us squarely among the camel-riding wise men. Our children’s experience on Christmas morning creates in them an atmosphere of gold, frankincense and myrrh, abundance far beyond the everyday.


How much did the wise men stretch to make the trip? At least when they stopped to ask, they heeded the gut feeling that the direction-giver wasn’t being totally straight with them. After they arrived for the baby shower, gave gifts and returned home, decorations came down. The community took over helping the family bring up the baby. Did the wise men return home to credit card bills?


The Bible doesn’t mention much about Jesus until he nears his Bar Mitzvah. The people and experiences during his formative years are assumed to have been carried out by people working in the background, like the women who cooked for the wise men plus their entourage as they followed the star. So much of our lives is routine, taken for granted, unremarked until a change occurs. As this church community shines the light into Epiphany and beyond, we can make visible the work that builds character and community among our children. After all, the children are our future.


Deborah Voss retires this week after a record tenure molding multiple generations of youth. Anyone who has served on the Board of Christian Education, taught Sunday School, led youth or been a counselor at the legendary Arts Camp can attest to Deborah’s skill and devotion to embodying God’s love. She has mentored teachers and counselors as well as children, served with multiple ministers and associates, substituted for office administrators, and undoubtedly cleaned bathrooms as needed. The brief moments she shepherds the children out of Sunday worship bring just a glimpse of the joy she spreads behind the spotlight.


How many times has Deborah listened as I struggled with kids’ behavior that pushed my buttons? How many times has she explained developmental needs and boundaries? How many parents has she bolstered by seeing their children through another set of eyes? In her actions, Deborah says, “I’ve got your back.” In her attitude, Deborah also says, “Come laugh with me.” How much have I learned about myself and others by serving with the children? At Arts Camp, children embed songs and stories of how we wrestle between being human and knowing the divine. They also play, sing, make friends and serve, building social skills in a community of love on purpose.


As we return to our own homes and let the camels out to pasture, may we continue to put our treasures where our hearts are. May we long welcome back those adults who have grown up in our midst. May little ones and their families continue to seek out this place to work and play together in God’s love.


Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16




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