1. retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of
2. bring (waste land or land formerly under water) under cultivation
3. to bring back to a preferable manner of living, sound principles, ideas, etc.
4. to rescue from an undesirable state
Maybe you've noticed the interiors of businesses, churches and homes are decorated with reclaimed wood. Wood once functioned as the primary building material because it was strong, relatively inexpensive and abundant. Today many of these woods that were once plentiful are only available in large quantities through reclamation. Barns serve as one of the most common sources for reclaimed wood. Barns constructed up through the early part of the 19th century were typically built using whatever trees were growing on or near the property. They often contain a mix of oak, chestnut, poplar, hickory and pine timber. Beam sizes were limited to what could be moved by man and horse. The wood was either hand hewn using an axe or squared with an adze. Early American settlers recognized American oak from their previous experience working with European oak. Red, white, black, scarlet, willow, post and pin oak varieties were cut and transformed into barns.
Reclaimed wood is often expensive. Work crews will take their time to gently deconstruct a barn. The wood used over 100 years ago is very dense and heavy. Square nails were used and are sometimes hidden deeply within the wood. Imagine milling the wood and coming across a nail! Repurposing items that were previously used for something else has become a lucrative industry. You may have noticed our attempts to bring this creative style of wood decoration into Wheatland.
The Christmas tree project this year has been one attempt to reclaim something that was worn out, broken and no longer of use. We will take what has been broken and create something new. It is my sincere hope you enjoy what we create. But, realize the new creation will also serve a purpose. God creates for his purpose and to bring glory to his name. Trees play a significant part in the biblical narrative. A tree produced fruit that Eve reached for and Adam ate. The book of Leviticus identified anyone who would hang from a tree was cursed. Our Messiah would eventually fulfill the law and prophecy as he was crucified on a cross commonly called a tree.
Reclaim Wonder is our Advent series title. It is an overt attempt to reclaim the thrill of wonder within you and stir up an irresistible urge to share the good news of what God is doing in our lives. Wonder will kindle your spiritual flame and help you catch fire for God. Wonder allows for a convergence of what is good, right and beautiful to broaden our vision and deepen our understanding to that which is holy and true. Our imagination saturated in holiness inspires us to hope, aspire, plan and express ourselves. We may even create something new or think in a new exciting way.
We begin Advent with words from Simeon a man filled with the Holy Spirit and hope. Simeon lived in anticipation that he would see God's salvation for Israel. God had bigger plans. Simeon would not only see God's mighty act of salvation for Israel but Simeon became a witness of God's salvation for the Gentile world as well. Christmas is ultimately about salvation. God values human life to the point of becoming human in order to reclaim all of humanity. God takes what was worn out, broken and no longer of use and reclaims it for his kingdom. This is good news of great joy for all people.
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32 NIV