We are going to tell you a story through the time of Advent. You can read it on your own or better share it with family and friends.
Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room, and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree. He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I asked.
The words choked in my throat, as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement, TEACH THE CHILDREN! I was puzzled: What did he mean?
He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there bewildered, Santa said, Teach the Children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that a now-a-day Christmas has forgotten!
Do you know what all the meanings of the Christmas Symbols are?
What does the Tree stand for?
What does a star, a candle or a wreath stand for?
You will find out what the real meanings of those normal looking things check the CBBC news next Sunday.
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Don’t miss the next part of the story.
By Jesse Kane
2017 Leadership Investment Program Coordinator
I remember finding the entire church experience to be quite boring as a kid.I didn’t connect with other kids, and the adults were all too happy- happier than I knew they were outside of church. It all became part of a monotonous dance we all partook in every week- at least, from my perspective. I was young, but I knew that church had become vapid.
I clocked out, and I didn’t care. This was not only my experience, but has been the experience of dozens of people in my millenial age bracket. What made matters worse was the fact that people would actually comment on my lack of engagement to my face: they would ask why I wasn’t at church very much anymore, or why I didn’t go to youth group. It was all very off-putting, so I was content to feel myself slipping out of their tightening grasp through the power of apathy.
Of course, this is not the churches fault. Let me be clear that this is not another tiresome article expressing how the church needs to change so that it can attract youth. The Church has done nothing wrong; it has faithfully lived and proclaimed the gospel since I was a child. Plenty of other people have profound experiences with God at church. The issue was with me, and more broadly, my human condition. I was unconvinced I needed the gospel, and unconvinced that the church had anything to offer me: There was no way that the rhythmic life I had been raised in could open my closed ears to hear God speaking, which of course He was.The Gospel had fallen on deaf ears.
But then, something happened.
Like a child ripped from the muted comfort of a womb, I was thrust into the presence of God. Nature was blaring. People were foreign. The cabins rugged. I was uncomfortable but my curiosity was piqued. As I began to lean into the words that were said during chapel, I found myself strangely disarmed. I was caught up in the mystery of the God.
And of course, I became a Christian.
As I’ve spent my summers at camp ever since, I think I may have caught on to it’s secret: Camp helps kids own their faith by giving them a place that is all theirs. Camp is an experience away from the familiarity of family and the comfort of routine where youth are forced to forge new paths of friendship and faith. It’s in the context of this untamed community of believers and seekers that youth gain the capacity to listen for and hear God.
So if you’re like me, you’ll find this revelation completely underwhelming; Camp helps kids hear God in a new and relevant way because it is outside their normal life. Yet there’s something refreshing about this: It is not our responsibility to make children hear God. It is not even within our own power to make children hear God.
It is by releasing our children to the spiritual wilderness of camp that they’re free to listen to God on their own terms.
And then of course,