Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last night was awesome!

A get-together For Elijah's twelfth birthday was held at his house last night. It was unlike any birthday party I have ever attended before. First we had hamburgers. Then Elijah sat on a stool in front of the fireplace and the rest of us gathered around the room. Elijah's dad (my son) began by explaining that his dad (me) was of Jewish heritage, so they thought it would be good to usher Elijah into young manhood by letting him select the male figures who have been significant in his life and then asking each man to write a letter to Elijah on this milestone birthday. After my son read his own letter, the rest of us came up one by one, stood by Elijah, and read our letters in front of the entire group. [Mine is in the previous post.] From time to time my son would read a letter he had received from someone who couldn't be present that evening. All told, around 20 letters were read. It turned out to be a very emotional occasion for almost every man there, and also for Elijah. Each and every letter was meaningful, and each letter was presented and taken seriously. Six ladies were in attendance also, and three or four children. Elijah heard words of encouragement from his Dad, both grandfathers, his uncles, his children's department pastor, his Sunday School teacher, his football coaches, his camp counselor, fathers of some of his friends, a variety of people. We ended in prayer for all four members of Elijah's immediate family. Then we ate birthday cake.

Many tears were shed during the evening. A lot of grown men got awfully choked up. I'm sure everyone who attended will remember the evening for a long time. Elijah's parents are going to put all of the letters into a binder for Elijah to have so that he can read them any time he wishes. Each man was asked to continue mentoring Elijah by spending one day with him during the coming year. Elijah is going to keep a journal about the things he learns this year from these mentoring experiences and what each man has meant to him. Another get-together is planned one year from now on Elijah's thirteenth birthday.

More Christians ought to do this sort of thing with their young people. It felt very ancient, and very sacred. This was a spiritual occasion. It was a God thing. Maybe the Jewish people with their Bar Mitzvahs are on to something.

1 comment:

Jeannelle said...

What you describe here sounds so meaningful for a young man of that age, and for all present. I had never heard of it before.....yes, it points out a lacking area in Christian tradition. How wonderful that your family is doing this.