Every year at Winter Break camp I like to ask the same question and tell the same story. Campers who have been coming for years have parts of it memorized and that’s just fine with me because it means they remember the most important parts and I’ve done my job. I love to ask, “what is the best Christmas present you ever received”. There is nothing like the excitement of sharing your favorite gift. Inevitably it comes around to me and the campers who have been for years get to shout out that they know my favorite Christmas Present of all time was the Death Star Space Station.
It was big and had all these moving parts, and I am utterly convinced the best things that ever happened in the Star Wars Universe happened in my bed room in that Death Star Space Station. I remember being so excited because my name was on this huge box and I had no idea what was in it. I had already received the Creature Cantina from my uncle and had tons of figures but I never expected anything so amazing as what was in that huge box. Over the years we recieved other amazing Christmas presents, I mean that is me playing with a Hoth Wampa, and a Dukes of Hazard Race Car set while an Atari sits just beside me. If I had been wearing my Indiana Jones shirts this would have been the most 80’s picture ever.
Last night we got to see the excitement of our niece and nephew as they opened Christmas presents, the joy of seeing what’s in the box and then the sensory overload of not knowing what to play with next. It’s a joy to watch and be a part of. Christmas is an amazing time for kids and it’s why I like to talk about it with camps. Bronwyn and I have always loved Christmas, before we were even dating I remember talking to Bronwyn about how much I loved Christmas, of course in they same conversation I talked about how much I loved Ultimate Frisbee, but still Christmas was right up there.
But the real reason I love to share what everyone’s favorite gift they ever received was is so I can also share the story of the greatest gift we all ever received. Luke 2 tells the story of how the Creator and Lord of the universe came down to earth to live with us and ultimately die for us. It was His gift to humanity, His greatest creation, a free gift that just needs to be received. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to see many people receive that gift and it’s always greeted with pretty much that same kind of sensory overload. That knowledge that’s almost too great to bare that God loved you so much that He sent His only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Even typing it now I’m overcome with awe that I am loved that much. I don’t know yet if we will have Christmas camp in Africa but I do know that we will celebrate Christmas at camp, and I don’t mean just celebrate the birth of Christ I mean we will have “Christmas in the Summer”. I love to remind campers of what God did, to tap into that joy of the Lord and share the story of what is truly the greatest gift any of us ever received.