Tag Archives: Christmas

Hammers Hearts and Hands: November, 2017

07 December

Just a few days ago, as the sun was beginning to fall in the western sky, I found myself racing against the clock to make some progress on an important outdoor project, attempting to complete this work before the onset of winter. With saw and hammer, I set my focus upon the task of completing some simple framing, but in the process I inadvertently nailed several boards in an improper location.

Despite all the years of accumulating knowledge and experience in this field and despite my intention of doing a good job, I had done something that I’m never proud of doing. I had made a mistake.

Believe me, I am more than qualified to make that statement. I’ve made innumerable mistakes over the years of my life, and my dossier of mistake-making is more extensive than I am happy to admit. I’ve made mistakes in judgement, logic, and perception. I’ve made errors in decision-making, listening, speaking, and doing. I seriously doubt that there’s even one aspect of my life into which mistake-making hasn’t insidiously entered.

When I was a young man, I probably would have taken a sledgehammer to the framing mistake, demolishing what I had to work with, and leaving no alternative but to start all over again. That’s a human option, but it’s expensive. I’m not young anymore. My hands didn’t reach for a sledgehammer, but instead they picked up a tool called a “cat’s paw”, designed to discretely retract an embedded nail without causing too much damage to the overall work. Carefully, I applied the physics of this tool to my framing error and in a few well-spent minutes I was able to undo the wrong I had done without being destructive.

2000 years ago, a little baby boy was born to an unmarried and bewildered couple in a town called Bethlehem of Judea, half-way around the world from the region we call home. His newly born body was swaddled in long strips of cloth and placed in a borrowed, crudely built manger as His family had no proper cradletoputintouse. Thirty-three years later His scourged and flesh-torn body,now dead,would be removed from a Roman cross of crucifixion, wrapped in long strips of cloth again, and placed in a borrowed grave.

Without God’s grace, the life of Jesus, from birth to death, would arguably be just another sad portrait of a life riddled with the results of mistakes that have always plagued the human race. With God’s grace, however, His life becomes the miracle of salvation and the emblem for all true human progress. Jesus is the instrument, the tool, of divine grace that God sent into the world to repair all the mistakes we make without making things worse. Jesus is the personification of God’s grace in this world. He is the living incarnation of God’s will, not to condemn but to correct, to build rather than demolish, to be constructive instead of destructive.

Our world is self-destructing under the sledgehammer swing of pride, hostility, hatred, terrorism, violence, senselessness, bigotry, judgmentalism, and meanness. We are hurting one another, hurting the human race, hurting God, and hurting the cause of the Christ whom God sent into the world to save. Our pride and arrogance have grown large and heavy like the head of a 20-pound sledge and we ignore the delicate utility of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s “cat’s-paw” in the Divine Builder’s Toolbox.

Nearly 28 years ago, Hosanna Industries was born to be an instrument of grace in God’s world. The mission has never known a day since its beginning on which destructiveness could not have prevailed. But we were and are called by Christ to be constructive, to build rather than destroy, to help rather than to hurt, to heal rather than injure. We have been invited to share in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and what a year of grace this has been! Since last Christmas, the mission’s service log reports that we have been privileged to help 161 needy households, work with 1675 volunteers, and use all of the gifts generously given to build more than two million dollars worth of equity in this world. We have made blunders, errors, mistakes in various ways, but God’s grace has been sufficient in correcting the way without condemning the work. God’s grace always prevails if we allow it to work.

Very soon, the Holiday Season will be upon us once more. For a little while, the world will be full of the signs of Christmastime. Lights, decorations, trees, presents, parties, carols and candles will ornament our experience, but will we grasp the profound and transforming meaning of it all? Sledgehammers work, if demolition is what you are aiming to do. But must we behave with demolition in mind? Isn’t there a better alternative? Christmas means there is a better alternative and its name is Grace in the person of Jesus.

With this newsletter, you will find enclosed our traditional Christmas present to you, dear friend. It’s another Hosanna hand-made Christmas tree ornament, our 24th in a row, this one made by Amy out of the same kind of canning lid that the mission has used for many years in harvesting God’s produce from the garden and in processing thousands of jars of good food for hungry people. I hope you enjoy it as you include it in your Christmas decorations this year. We give this little gift to you with all the grace we have been given, reminding you as well as ourselves that Christmas is always a choice, because Christ is always the most important choice a person can ever make. This Christmas, choose Christ. Choose His ways of love and forgiveness, peace and reconciliation. Give Christ a chance to correct rather than condemn. You will be amazed at what the Master Carpenter can do if you let Him carefully do His work. Perhaps as you light a candle this Christmas Eve, please know from the bottom of Hosanna’s heart, how very grateful we are for you and for all that you do to help us carry on in our work. Please continue to pray for us, remembering the worth of God’s grace in this world, His grace made known to the world in and through your own precious life, and sing with your voice of faith together with God’s children everywhere:

Silent night, Holy night, Son of God, Love’s Pure Light!
Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face,With the dawn of redeeming Grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth!

Love and grace to you with unending gratitude, dear Hosanna friend, this Season and always,

DDE

Read more in our 2017 November Newsletter.

Festival of Trees 2017 Recap

07 December

We are thrilled to announce that the 2017 Festival of Trees raised over $20,000! We exceeded our goal, and are so thankful for the generous support. Over the three day event, we saw some 700 people come through the doors to see almost 60 creative Christmas trees. Thanks to the 30+ volunteers who helped make it happen, the tree decorators who made gorgeous trees, the sponsors who gave dollars, our media sponsors who promoted the event, the generous people who gave through the Giving Tree, the numerous businesses who donated food and drinks, the many musicians who performed beautifully, and Quality Gardens our gracious hosts. (Photos of the event coming soon.) Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow! 🎄

TOP TEN things you can do TODAY (Giving Tuesday) to give back

24 November

Today is Giving Tuesday, and in the spirit of giving, we came up with a TOP TEN list of ways to give back through Hosanna Industries. These are simple things you can do right now.

 

 

  1. Say a prayer or two! Pray for the people crying out, “Hosanna, rescue me now, Lord!”
  2. Donate online or mail a check.
  3. Like us on Facebook, share our pages with your friends, or rate us on Facebook.
  4. Write a review about your experience with us on Network for Good, which will help us to receive more support.
  5. Register for our metal-working class to make a handmade Christmas gift.
  6. Sign up to deliver Christmas gifts to a household that we’ve helped this year.
  7. Start collecting spare change. Every penny, nickel, dime, quarter, dollar, etc. makes a difference!
  8. Sign up (at the bottom of our website) for our e-blast to stay in the loop about our work.
  9. Shop like you normally would at Amazon.com (or Amazon Prime) but use Smile.Amazon.com instead, & .5% of every purchase will benefit the mission, with no extra charge to you.
  10. While you’re out running errands, grab something extra. Here’s our wish list: 

Thanks for your support & Merry Christmas!

November 2016: Hammers, Hearts and Hands

05 December

As I write these words, our nation pauses to celebrate Veterans Day in grateful recognition of the thousands upon thousands of men and women who have protected our country’s unique freedoms. One of them, a sergeant by the name of Joyce Kilmer, fought during World War I with the 165th Infantry far from home in the European theatre. He was killed in action near Ourcy, France on July 30, 1918, at the age of 32. Though his loved ones had to suffer the heartbreak of his loss as many do, Sergeant Kilmer left these words which have remained with us for nearly a century –

I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.

Our world couldn’t exist without trees. They cleanse the air and provide oxygen for us to breathe. They hold the soil against erosion and offer habitat for innumerable birds and other small wildlife. They shade the earth from the scorching heat of the Summer, and paint the landscape with breathtaking beauty in the Fall.

Like all living things, they are born to live, they grow, and one day die. Poplars grow twice as fast as oaks, but live only half as long. Even in death, like a poet’s words, trees contribute great value to our lives.

They provide fuel for our fireplaces to heat our homes in Winter. Most of our houses, even if they show a handsome suit of brick, are framed up with wood. The paper you are holding right now came from a gracious tree. The pen I am using was fashioned out of wood. The old rocking chair in my study that I am sitting in right now was once a tree more than a century ago. The bookshelves nearby and all the volumes they hold that have been my teaching companions through the years, all these came from trees. Around the world over, experts tell us that there are more than 23,000 varieties of trees that are an integral part of our planet’s cyclical ecological system.

Wood is a substance unlike any other in our world. It can be split, chopped, rived, and cut. It can be turned, planed, joined, shaped and sanded. It can be burned as fuel, converted into other useful products, or finished with a protective coating intended to last for hundreds of years. Without wood, our music would be limited to the sound of brass.

Once, 2000 years ago, a tree was felled halfway around the world. Its wood was crafted into an old rugged cross upon which the Prince of Glory died. Only God could have anticipated the particular purpose of that tree.

A year ago, when the mission acquired its new facility in Gibsonia and began to re-purpose that property for a new chapter of God’s work, my daughter Emily took note of the beautiful trees there that had lived, while others died, and while others still emerged beneath tall boughs as tiny saplings. In the Autumn she saw how the majestic oaks dropped thousands of acorns upon the ground, each one holding the potential of becoming, one day in due time, another tall oak tree in the forest of our lives.

Nobody but God can make a tree.

It’s been another amazing year at the mission, dear friend! Thank you for all you’ve done in providing the blessings that God used to make all of this possible! We used thousands of 2×4’s and sheets of plywood, swung a lot of hammers, and drove a lot of nails in helping many of God’s needy children during the course of 2016. Much of what was accomplished came from trees that God purposed for such work.

When a little tree is born, perhaps only God can be aware of this new life and all the potential worth that lies within that delicate, fragile structure.

Centuries ago, an unknown carpenter from a far away land took wood from a fallen tree and crafted, with adze, mallet and chisel, a primitive trough. It was built to hold hay for the feeding of animals, but it became the first cradle of a new-born swaddled child whose angel-announced name was Jesus. He would grow up to become Savior of the world.

Soon you may be joining with countless people around the world in decorating your home for the upcoming holiday season. Perhaps a different kind of tree, a Christmas tree, may adorn your own dwelling place. Upon its branches, an unknowable variety of ornaments may be hung, each reflecting its own particular meaningfulness.

Enclosed within this newsletter mailing is our little gift to you. This year, a simple ornament made of wood and stamped with the impression of an acorn. As you hang this little handmade ornament upon your tree, may you be inspired to prayerfully reflect upon the worth of your own God-held life, how you like a tiny acorn, have grown into the great person you are and are yet capable of becoming still!

Only God can fully plumb the depths of potential that lie within an acorn. Only God can know the fullest potential of what yet lies within you and me. Only God can grow greatness.

While all the world slept, a little boy was born to a world aching for God’s love. On that silent night, He was born to “raise the sons of earth, born to give us second birth!” His unique life blessed this world forever, and because of that, so can we if we so choose.

Thank you, dear Hosanna friend, for who you are and for all the good you’ve done. May God’s love surround you throughout the Christmas season and always.
-Donn Ed, Founder & Executive Director of Hosanna Industries

Read the rest of this quarter’s newsletter, here.

2015 Christmas Promotions Benefiting Hosanna Industries

15 December

Thanks to the following businesses for including Hosanna Industries in their holiday promotions! Contact Amanda Becker if your company would like to do something similar!

Tom Henry Chevrolet

With the Holiday Season upon us, Tom Henry Chevrolet is turning their attention to those in the community who put the needs of others in front of their own. They are happy to donate a portion of their December New/Pre-Owned vehicle sales to Hosanna Industries, Inc. in support of their mission to help members of their surrounding community. Contact Tom Henry Chevrolet with any questions at 724-443-1575.

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Give the gift of employment by joining Express Employment Professionals’ Pay It Forward Holiday Hiring Drive as they strive to place 60 job seekers in Pittsburgh during the weeks of December 8th, 2015 through January 4th 2015. Being out of work during the holidays can be particularly tough, and Express would like to make sure as many people as possible earn a paycheck just in time for the holidays. They also want to help Pay it Forward even further by raising money for Hosanna Industries in the process! In the spirit of the season, the Pittsburgh North and Downtown Office in the Greater Pittsburgh Area want to contribute to a cause in order to give back to the communities that they serve and have identified Hosanna Industries as that cause. To learn more, contact your local Express office at 412-366-3661 or by email at [email protected]

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At Whole Foods Market Wexford, $.05 is taken off your bill for every shopping bag you reuse. You also have the option to donate that nickel to Hosanna Industries this season! These nickels will add up to valuable dollars to help our needy neighbors. Head to Whole Foods to support Hosanna Industries with your Nickels for Nonprofits!

November 2015 Newsletter

19 November

We’re living in a time when it’s easy for things to fall apart. All across the board of our culture, it seems like disintegration has become the new norm. Whether in the changing values that weave our national fabric or under the rooftop of a home that shelters a family, the evidence is abundantly clear that it’s becoming harder and harder for people to hold it together in these ever-changing times.

I’m not sure that anything is insulated from this trend. Businesses, churches, schools, government agencies, civic organizations, clubs, families, and friendships all seem to be prey to this permissive and unfortunate cultural climate.

Of course, at the end of the day, nobody really wins, and while voices are raised and fingers are pointed, all of us are losing something as precious as life itself: the sense that we really do matter to one another and that, whatever the cost may be, we can always discover new ways to hold it all together.

We learn a lot about holding it together at Hosanna Industries. As we daily build with hammers and saws, we learn in very practical ways that every board needs a nail, every block needs mortar, every part and piece of a structure needs a fastener in order to be properly and meaningfully placed in relationship with all the other pieces so that the whole house can be held together.

More than 20 years ago, when the mission was in its earliest years of learning how to master its craft, I met a man on a new home construction site up in Mercer County. He was an old and experienced builder, and he showed up to offer his assistance to a little young mission that was really trying to do its best. I learned a great deal from this friend, and during the course of my learning, he taught me how to use a transit in establishing the perimeter of a home.

This exercise is absolutely vital prior to construction, establishing the actual dimensions and outer limits of a structure before it is built, and the method involves the use of a 360° calibrated telescope situated on a dead-level platform that is supported by the three legs of a tripod. Beneath the level platform is suspended a plumb-bob on a line, the sharp point of which is lowered until it just touches the head of a physical point which is driven into the ground. As I watched this master builder perform this operation for the first time, I marveled at the proficiency and experience which guided his every move, and as he gently adjusted the plumb- bob line so that the index point could be accurately referenced, I wondered how he would hold the two ends of the lines together so that everything could be fixed.

Expecting him to tie some kind of knot, he surprised me by reaching into his pocket to locate a little device I had never seen before. He called it a line-cinch, and he showed me how to use it to hold the lines together. I was so impressed by its usefulness and simple design, that I inquired where he got it so that I could get one too. He smiled at me and explained that he invented it years earlier when necessity required it, and then quickly began to make me one from a scrap piece of copper wire, a little length of tubing, and a pair of pliers.

I’ve carried that little keepsake in my pocket for more than twenty years now, and it always reminds me of an old friend, now gone for quite a few years, who knew how to hold things together.

2015 has been an astonishing, amazing year for Hosanna Industries. We have been blessed to help 142 households with pressing needs through the course of the year. We have been blessed to labor with more than 1500 volunteers who came from far and near to be a part of the mission’s work. We have been blessed to pursue and raise $881,196.70 against our expenses of $960,188.86, and we are so grateful for all that has been so graciously given. We have been blessed to celebrate our 25th anniversary year, which I never anticipated would or could happen when the mission was first starting out, and as unexpectedly as any of the many miracles Hosanna Industries has witnessed through the years, we have been blessed to acquire a new auxiliary mission campus consisting of 9 beautiful acres of land in Gibsonia, PA, essentially doubling the

physical capacity of a mission that was born to hear Hosanna cries and to help all kinds of needy people learn new ways to hold it together. Through every hour of this past year, I have seen God’s hands hold the mission together, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

According to our now 22 year long tradition, we have included in this newsletter a Christmas tree ornament, handmade by the mission workers of Hosanna Industries. It is a gift for you, from our hands and from our hearts. It is a line-cinch, identical to the one given to me years ago. I hope it will remind you of the significance of holding it together as you place it on your tree. Maybe, after the holiday season, you’ll choose to keep it in your pocket.

Of course, in a very big way, that’s what Christmas is all about. The disharmony and despair that has always plagued the human race, isolating ourselves from one another and alienating us from God, is not only exposed but eradicated because of Christmas. Christ is the solution. Christ is the one who can teach us how to hold it together if we listen to His Word. At Christmastime and always, He teaches us to forgive, to try again, to go another mile, to give, to pray, to suffer sometimes, and to always love.

Jesus is the world’s line-cinch, and He’s yours and mine as well! Merry Christmas, dear Hosanna friend, and thank you for all you’ve done to help God’s hands hold Hosanna Industries together.

~DDE

Read more here: 2015 November Newsletter