Did you know that there are 161 days until Christmas? Well, luckily for us here at Middler Camp, Christmas came a little early! This week we are celebrating Christmas in July. Christmas really is every day here at Delanco Camp! Well, for this week at least.

The buildings are covered in lights, reindeer games are being played, we’re singing Christmas carols, and each dorm even has their own Christmas tree! If the weather wasn’t so warm, you’d almost believe it was December!

Our evangelist, Chad Blatherwick, is going to be talking about the different characters from the nativity story and what we can learn from this week. Last night, Chad delivered a message about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

In looking at the passage where the angel visits Mary (Luke 1:28-34), he spoke about Mary’s complete obedience to God. You see, Mary had her own plans. She was going to marry Joseph, have children and raise a family, and stay in their homeland. It’s not that her plans were  bad, it’s just that God had bigger plans. 

When the angel visits Mary to tell her that she will give birth to Jesus, you want to know Mary’s response? “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” There was no second guessing, arguing, bartering, or compromising. She fully and wholeheartedly accepted the plan that the Lord had for her.

Wouldn’t life be a little bit easier if we were all a little bit like Mary? That’s the problem with humanity. We have a tendency to run away from the still, calm voice of God to chase the things that we desire.

For my family, our plan was to move to Tennessee in the summer of 2012. My Dad was retiring from the Police Department the previous August, I was graduating high school in June, and my sister was entering high school in the fall. We found a house we all fell in love with in a small town outside of Johnson, Tennessee. Our house in New Jersey was sold and in closing, and we moved into a rental in October 2011. Everything was planned and set. Well, until God stepped in.

In November, the people buying our house lost their funding, and without being able to sell our house in NJ, the owners of the home in Tennessee had to accept a better offer.

And just like that, all of our plans fell through.

The summer before, I served on Summer Staff for the first time. I was 16 years old, getting ready for my senior year of high school. I had applied on a whim, but it was something I always wanted to do. That summer, I got to experience Delanco in a whole new way, and get to know the caretaker, CJ, very well.

Five months after we realized we would no longer be moving Tennessee, CJ and his wife announced that they were leaving Delanco Camp so CJ could move on and pastor a church down in Mississippi.

Last night, Chad talked to us about Mary moment’s: when we realize the plan the God has for us, we don’t run away and begin following down the path which we are called.

My Mary moment was telling my parent’s about the caretaker’s position opening up at camp. For me, listening to God’s voice telling me to share the news is something that changed my family forever. For Mary, accepting Gabriel’s news that she would deliver Jesus changed the world.

Can you imagine if Mary had said no to Gabriel? Or worse, to God? If she just said, “Sorry, I don’t really want to have this baby. Maybe find somebody else.” Can you picture what kind of world we would live in without Jesus? 

As sinful people, we say no to God a lot. In the running, arguing, bartering, declining, we’re depriving ourselves of the plan that God has for us, a plan that is far better than anything any of us could imagine or fathom.

God’s got plans. Big plans. Like Mary, we just need to respond to Him in full obedience. Because, trust me, when you are on God’s path, there’s nothing better.