White snow everywhere! The swimming raft, pontoons, and trumpeter swans are gone, and in their place are three ice rinks. Sleds and snow tubes have taken the place of kayaks and canoes. Sidewalk chalk has been put away for shovels. Lawn mowers replaced by snow blowers. Leaves by frost. Swimming trunks for parkas and slushies for hot chocolate. It is remarkable how quickly seasons change. This past December, I attended the National Convention for the Christian Camp and Conference Association. One keynote speaker, Megan Fate-Marshman, spoke of another season. One that is felt inwardly, a season of the heart. Perhaps a season of joy or maybe pain. Maybe a season that is hectic or one of much-needed rest. Some of us are transitioning seasons while others feel stuck. Through them all we know Jesus is with us, offering life and overcoming darkness. The gospel of John calls Jesus the Word, who is God, who created all things, who made His home with us, and who is full of Life and Light. This year at Camp Lebanon, we will be marveling in the promise that Jesus is the Living Word. This is our “Big Truth Topic” for 2023. We are excited to unpack this message that Jesus is alive, with us in every season, and has the power to overcome even our darkest times.
Recently, I’ve become a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. A fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. I love it! In one chapter, Frodo, a hobbit (the smallest of all creatures) is charged with saving the earth. Galadriel (an elder elf) gifts Frodo with a phial of light.
“And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. ‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
I know, I am a nerd! Jesus is not fiction or fantasy; he is not a metaphor….but I love the imagery! He is the Word, and He is the power to overcome darkness.
During our Mega Fun weekend at Camp Lebanon (for 3rd – 6th Graders), I watched the Light of Jesus pierce real darkness. A young boy from a broken home attended camp with his church group. I had known of his situation ahead of time having had a prior discussion with his leader. Before his arrival, I prayed that God would allow camp to house a special moment in his life or perhaps a reprieve from the season of life he was in. I did not know which camper he was when his group arrived. We all gathered in for chapel and an evening of entertainment watching the Juggler and Illusionist, Don B. At one point Don asked for a volunteer from the audience. As only God can do, I found out later that night that the young boy who was the one chosen to come on stage was this same child from the broken home. He had a blast enjoying every minute of fame on stage with a big smile on his face. It was a moment that set the stage for the rest of his weekend. I asked his leader at the end of the retreat how it went for him. She said he really enjoyed his time at Camp. Thank you to Jesus for shining your light into a dark situation.