Decorating for Advent and Christmas took on a new meaning for me this year. This past year we adopted a baby and he has just turned one. This is his first Christmas with us, and I want it to be a special time in his life as well as a period of growth as a person. Conversations that once did not apply to my life, now seem very relevant. How do we talk about Christmas and Advent? What traditions should we include/exclude? Is it ok for him to believe in Santa (as well as other fantastical beings like the Tooth Fairy,Easter Bunny, etc.)? While I am not sure if he will remember his first Christmas with us, other than what he sees in pictures and videos, I feel that these conversations are important. It is so easy to get caught up in what other parents are doing and plugging and chugging to keep everything running smoothly. But in doing so, what do we lose? What do we give up for this convenience?
One of the big teaching points that we strive to instill in our campers is living an intentional life. This requires campers to claim their journey as their own, no matter how that might shape up. This includes discovering their passions, developing skill sets that are relevant to thatcamper, articulating their worldviews,and honing their abilities in how they relate to God, others, and the whole of creation. Since our paths are unique to us, this requires our programming to be thoughtful, diverse and meaningful. This is not a small feat, but our directors understand the end result. We want our kids to have 21st-century skills, a strong identity of who they are, resiliency to adapt and cope to both joys in life as well as utter devastation, and a strong spiritual center from which they can pull from and build on for the rest of their life. It would be so easy to take a published curriculum and implement it without modification, but reflecting,molding it, and transforming it benefits the campers, our churches, and ultimately our global society. I am fortunate to have passionate individuals sharing their gifts throughout the year and being in conversation with me to constantly keep our ministry fresh,relevant, and life-giving.
This Christmas, I recognize the effects of the ministries and practices of Slumber Falls Camp on my life, way of thinking, and way of being. I love myson. The parents that I encounter here also have tremendous love and hope for their children. Our children are sacred, and we want the best for them. I hope that Advent allows us time to reflect on how Christ is always coming into this world. The transformation that Christ brought into the world two millennia ago continues today. However, you choose to talk about this season, I hope it is done with intentionality and centered on your values and beliefs and not others. I wish each and every one a blessed Advent and Christmas and a Happy New Year.