The Gold of Christmas: A Catalyst Farms Story

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

~J.R.R Tolkien

Amazement. That was the emotion that shot through my entire body.

You see, last week I stepped foot onto Catalyst Farms for the first time in over a year. I was there to help one of our volunteers move some furniture into the basement, and I thought that was the only reason I was there. But when I pulled into the driveway and stepped foot out my car, I began to see I was there for another reason that only God knew.

Transformation. It was all before me.

I had remembered seeing the house with chipped and beaten shutters. Now, they were painted with deep and warm colors.

I had remembered seeing the yard, overgrown with weeds and trees. Now, it was rich and green.

I had remembered seeing the garage, chaotic and littered with dust. Now, it was a boutique, filled with symmetry and beauty.

I had remembered a house without a porch. But now, there was one. I had remembered a yard without a fence. But now, it was there. I had remembered grounds without a garden. But now, the garden was before me.

This—all this—was gold. The kind of gold that does not tarnish. The kind of gold that we carry in earthen vessels. The kind of gold that we call love.

And that was when it hit me.

We didn’t deserve the kindness of this community—the kindness of churches, small groups, donors, volunteers, builders, contractors, workers, prayer warriors, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives—who sacrificed their hours, emotions, energy, and dollars to make Catalyst Farms what it is today.

But they gave us this kindness anyways.

They did it for God; and they did it for the amazing survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation who we eagerly wait to welcome home to this farm. I pray that they are the ones who wander but are not lost; I pray God will guide them home.

I wish I could here, on this blog, publicly honor each and every one of you who labored so passionately to make Catalyst Farms what it is today. In a way, I feel like the writer of Hebrews who once wrote, “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of . . .” Truly, time would fail me to tell of your wonderful labor of faith and love. Words fail me. But you deserve it.

I realize now that even in the beginning, when I first saw Catalyst Farms, it was always gold. But this community saw the potential and made it glitter. Your love was that old strength that does not wither. And your love—and the love of our resident and resident assistant that fills the very inside of Catalyst Farms—are the deep roots that are not reached by the frost.

These are the roots of Catalyst Farms. And this was the amazement that ran through my heart last week. I suppose that is the greatest early Christmas present I will ever have.

As I think about it, I can’t help but think of the gift that one of the magi brought to Jesus as a child—gold. Today, as we celebrate a gift even greater than this—the love of God who gave up His high estate and became a child—may we remember that there is this potential of gold in each one of us. It is the gold of love, the kind that gives of itself in thankfulness and sacrifice.

Merry Christmas to all,