With the shorter days and chilly temperatures, I always look forward to the holidays. With Thanksgiving around the corner all of our youth programs seem to have a “giving thanks” and gratitude flavor that orients us back to God among the hustle and bustle of the season.
As I think about what I am grateful for, I keep coming back to the middle school fall retreat at Camp Chestnut Ridge in October. The weather was picture perfect and the weekend was full of camp and retreat classics like roasting marshmallows over a fire, silly games in the field, camp activities like archery and canoeing, and sharing our highs and lows of the day in our cabins each night. The level of relationships you get to build on a weekend retreat are so much deeper and more meaningful. I walked away so grateful for middle schoolers- an age that can be so hard. I also walked away so grateful for the team of adult chaperones and parents who gave up their weekend to pour into these adolescents, encouraging them, playing with them and listening to them.
It was a magnificent weekend where our theme was “seeds of faith” as we focused on the parable of the mustard seed from Matthew chapter 13. And I find myself grateful for the adults who sowed seeds of faith in my life through ordinary things like weekend church retreats, girl scout camping trips, or even conversations around a thanksgiving table. May we all find ourselves giving thanks for the many, many blessings we have.
From one of our high school Interns, Graham Wilson:
For me, Thanksgiving is a time to eat a delicious meal with extended family, and catch up with each other. I love hearing the stories my cousins have to share, and sitting next to my grandparents who never fail to make me laugh. This is special for me because a lot of my family lives really far away, so I never get to see them. So, what am I thankful for? Of course, I’m thankful for my family, and for the food that keeps our bodies healthy. But, I’m also thankful for other things that are personal to me.
I’m thankful for a lot of things in our church too. I’m thankful for our music groups, and the talents and ability to learn that God has given me so that I can participate. I’m also thankful for the youth staff, and all the work they put in to make youth group a fun and engaging way to learn about God. This year, I ask that you consider WMPC as you intentionally reflect on thankfulness. If you go around the table saying something you’re thankful for this year, make it something special. It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it’s personal to you.