A New Year comes with new resolutions, new accomplishments, and new experiences waiting to be had. This can feel like a lot of pressure, but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t feel the need to set outrageous goals for yourself.  Instead, decide how you want to look back on 2019 as a whole. If you want this to be the year of all A’s, put your procrastination at bay and make that happen. If you want this to be the year you spend more time outside with God’s beauty in nature, make plans to hike or camp once a month. Make a plan to be kind to everyone you come in contact with, regardless of whether or not you’re having a bad day. Make 2019 the year you are an optimist.

Our theme for 2018 was Echo, we wanted you to leave camp excited to echo God’s love out into the world as you went back home. Do you feel you accomplished this? Could people feel God’s unwavering love through your words and actions? There is a story that reflects this in a way that should have all of us reconsidering how we approach our day-to-day interactions:

A group of salesmen attended a convention out of town. They assured their families they would be home in time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush through the terminal one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table holding a display of apples. Fruit flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for the final boarding call.

All but one.

He told his buddies to go on without him, as he did he realized the woman behind the apple stand was blind. She was just standing there softly crying.

The salesman knelt on the floor, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; he set these aside in another basket. When he finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, this should cover the damages.”

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered girl called out to him, ‘Mister….’ He paused and turned to look back. She continued, ‘Are you Jesus?’

He stopped in mid-stride and absorbed the question. Then slowly he made his way to catch a later flight with that question bouncing about in his soul: Are you Jesus?

Would you have stopped and helped clean up the fallen apples? Would you put someone else’s hurt before your joy? The man in this story echoed God’s love with hardly any words, yet the woman related him to Jesus. Can the people you encounter day to day say the same about you?

This year’s theme is Radiant. We are calling you to illuminate those around you by letting Christ’s light shine freely through you.  We are made in His image, so we are made for greatness. Make “Radiant” your word for 2019; make it your litany. Choose to be a light this year, not just this summer at camp, but all year long.