Advent 2021

Witness: Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Witness: Peter Popko

Scripture: Acts 20:24

Weekly Theme: Love

“No be worry”

As a young teenager, one of my great joys was fishing with my grandfather, Simon.  He was a skilled fisherman who could position his hand-tied fly just under the overhanging tree limb with a long fluid swing of his fly rod.  He also took me ice fishing on nearby ponds.  We used a long-handled, homemade chisel to chop through the ice and employed his hand-made jigs to catch fish.

One time ice fishing, I decided to try another spot a few hundred yards from where we were having no luck.  I walked along using the chisel as a walking stick.  As I took a step and planted the chisel head on the ice, it suddenly broke through, and the chisel slipped from my gloved hand. I stood there in total disbelief; my grandfather’s chisel that he had handmade and ground the edge to sharpness was gone. I was devastated.  How could I even tell him what had happened?

I eventually walked slowly back to where my grandfather was still fishing.  I felt so bad inside, but I told him what had happened.  He had every right to yell at the stupid, careless teenager in front of him but instead, he just said in his broken English, “No be worry.”

It was years later that I understood how and why my grandfather showed me such grace.  It had a lot to do with his life experiences.  As a young man living with his wife and only son in eastern Poland, he had been “enlisted” by the Russian Army to fight in the Russo-Japanese War around 1905.  He was trained to ride horses and be part of an artillery troop.  He was transported across Asia to join the deadly fight when the war ended in a peace agreement.  He returned to Poland and was released from the army.  His next bold move was to leave his wife and son behind and travel to the United States to start a new life.  Once established in the states, he sent for his wife and son.  They added four daughters to the family, including my Mom.  Simon owned a butcher shop but lost it during the Great Depression because he was too generous in giving credit to his customers. Throughout all, he instilled a great love for the Lord in his family.

So what I came to realize is that my grandfather’s grace toward me came from a man who had survived great peril and had taken risks, all for the love of his family.  So when he said to me, “No be worry“, he was really saying I put my love for you, my grandson, above the chisel that was lost accidentally.

Isn’t that what our Lord says to us time and time again?  He loves us unconditionally; nothing we say or do could ever separate us from His love.

Daily Prayer:  May we exhibit the same type of grace you show us to those around us.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Has anyone ever shown you God-like grace? How did you feel?
  2. Have you ever shown God-like grace to someone? How did you feel?

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