This time of year is typically one that is full – full of activity, people, gatherings, decorating, noise, food, music, and the list goes on. It often feels like there are not enough hours in the day during the holidays! This year, Christmas and New Year’s may feel quite different than usual. We may find ourselves with more room in our schedules and more seats at our tables.

Although I often complain about feeling rushed or overwhelmed, when my schedule slows down or when I find myself with more time on my hands, it is disorienting for me. My first instinct is to immediately fill my time or figure out how to busy myself. I have felt this urge several times during this season recently, and have found myself choosing noise over silence, activity over stillness, and frenetic worry or planning over intentional reflection. 

As we have been rereading the story of Christmas with our children this year, I have noticed a word that continues to appear in the Scripture passages referring to Christ’s birth : “Behold”. Heavenly beings are constantly reminding humans to behold the good news of the gospel; to ponder, gaze upon, and digest the wonder of this event. If I’m honest, I don’t naturally like to ponder or look at things – I like to get things done. Beholding things feels harder and less productive, and yet that is the very thing that we are told is important!

One of the things that I love about camp is that space to slow down is built into the daily routine. We have time each day for campers to rest, read, write letters, or just spend time together that is not rushed or structured. This is important not only for time at camp, but also for when we all return back to life at home. Learning to create space to be still is essential for all of us. As we find ourselves with more time this holiday season, may we see this as a gift and opportunity to behold the wonder of God’s great love for us, and may this give us great hope and peace for the coming year. 

Catherine Menendez
Camp Timberlake Director