ADVENT DEVOTION | A SEASON OF WAITING

Today’s Advent Devotion comes from Jennifer Nieves. Check back each day for a new devotion.

What are you waiting for?  Are you waiting for the next big thing to happen in your life? Are you waiting for Christmas and the promise of that gift you’ve been asking for?  Are you waiting for your birthday and the chance to finally get your license? Are you waiting for the summer and for Teen Camp?

Ever feel like camp is “home”?  Do you ever find yourself wishing you could just be there with your friends and people around you that live out faithful lives and leave all the distractions, hurt and pain behind?

In Isaiah 35 we read about what Israel is waiting and wishing for.  They are in exile, far away from their home. They are yearning for the joy that will await them, if they could just get home.  And more than just the physical comfort of the familiarity of Jerusalem, they are hopeful for the promise of goodness when God returns and rights the wrongs of the world.

Advent is a season of waiting.  First, we wait upon the celebration of Jesus coming in the form of a baby, to become the Savior of humanity.  This is the reason we parallel in this season waiting for Christmas morning and the joy of opening gifts, just as Christ was THE gift that first Christmas. The second waiting; however, is the waiting for the next time Jesus will appear. For the promise that he will “wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying. For the old order of things [will] pass away”.  (Revelation 21:4)

But that time is not yet.  There is a promise, but we live in the waiting.  And in the waiting there is difficulty, there is mourning and death.  There is all the hard stuff that comes with waiting: confusion, anxiety, uncertainty.

The song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” came to my mind this morning as I thought through what it means to wait.  

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Just as in Isaiah 35, the lyricist focuses on the call for Israel to “rejoice”.  Rejoice?  In the captivity? IN the waiting? In the confusion, the anxiety, the uncertainty? Rejoice?  How do we do that?  By focusing on the promise and not the problems.  No, we can’t ignore the reality in our lives. But we can choose how we approach difficulty.  We can change our outlook to think about the hope of tomorrow and the hope of God making all things new.  In fact, even more than hope, we can be a part of what it means to bring that Joy to the earth, to the brokenness of creation and humanity.  If we live in a way that rejoices, even in the midst of hardship and waiting, we change the game.  We live in a way that encourages others. Perhaps even help them to see that there are things to rejoice about.  

How can you wait well today? What does it look like today to rejoice, with all of the things in your life just as they are?  Will you rejoice today?

 

Jennifer has served Delanco Camp as Teen Camp Dean for over a decade. She works as a high school math teacher in New York. 

A Season for Everything: A Letter from the Chambers Family

Delanco Camp has always held a special place in our lives, but never did we expect that our family would be fortunate enough to call the grounds our home. On June 12, 2013, we officially moved to Tabernacle, NJ and started our next chapter together.

It has now been over four years since we first moved to Delanco Camp. We’ve conquered five full seasons of camp, getting the chance to personally see how the Lord moves in the lives of all who step foot on the grounds. We’ve raked what feels like a million leaves. We’ve have had our fair share of chipwiches and pretzels rolls. We’ve played countless night games. We’ve spent many nights star gazing on the soccer field or movie nights in the Tabernacle. We’ve had the incredible privilege to serve together as a family year after year. We’ve been lucky enough to create friendships with campers and watch them grow into men and women of God right before our eyes. There’s been a lot of laughter, a lot of tears, memories filled with immeasurable joy and times of pain. We are so incredibly grateful for this chapter in our lives.

Ecclesiastes 3 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Every story is filled with many chapters, a beginning and an end. After much prayer and consideration, this chapter of our lives is coming to a close. At the end of November, we are stepping down from our position as the Caretaker family at Delanco Camp.

The Lord has truly blessed us these last four years with so many beautiful moments that we will treasure forever. We have felt so fortunate to be able to serve the Lord, campers, and staff year after year. We are grateful the Lord called us to Delanco Camp, and while it is very bittersweet to be leaving this home, we are all looking forward to where God will bring us next, including spending quality time with Tom’s father, who recently celebrated his 91st birthday earlier this year.

We will always love this place and it will continue to hold a special place in all of our hearts. We will continue to pray for the future of the camp. It is our hope that the Lord will continue to work through the sandy, holy grounds of Delanco Camp to change the lives of generations to come, just like He has used it to change ours.

Thank you for letting Delanco Camp be a beautiful chapter in the Chambers family story.

-Tom, Kellie, Sarah & Emma

What It’s Like to Live at Camp

Being one of the caretaker’s daughters, the question I hear almost every single day is whether or not I like living at Delanco year round. People are always wondering what it’s really like to live here at Lake Agape. And honestly, it’s one of my favorite things, and here’s why.

1. It’s beautiful here. I feel so lucky to be able to get the chance to see this place in every season. There is something so perfect about watching the leaves change, or seeing the sandy ground covered in snow. So many people only get to see Delanco in the summer, but it’s incredibly beautiful here year round.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

2. It’s hard work. Between spending hours raking leaves, painting buildings, or mopping the dinning hall floors, there is always something to be done here, even in the off season! On the plus side, I get to serve with my family, and that is one of my favorite things. We work as a team here in the Chambers family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Blog 

3. You always have to be prepared to face the unexpected. From falling trees, to dozens of wild turkeys, you never really know what you’re going to find out here at camp! There’s always something new to discover here.

4. It’s peaceful. It’s so great to sit out down by Lake Agape when no one else is around. I love taking walks or going to do personal devotions in the Chapel in the Pines. Everything is so quiet and still in the off-season that there is no better time to sit and listen to what God is trying to say. Blog

5. It’s incredible to see and meet so many people. While it is nice when camp is empty, it’s so satisfying when you do see people running around playing gaga or walking around the grounds. I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many incredible people that God has used to shape my life immensely the past few years. And so many of the friends I’ve made are life-long.

6. You learn a lot. There are so many things I’ve learned since moving to camp, like how to install and air conditioner by myself, how to use a nail gun and a power saw, how to build a pretty epic campfire using old dressers, and how to change fluorescent light bulbs. On a more serious note, I have learned the true meaning of what it means to have a servants heart. I’ve learned so much about myself the past three summers living here at camp, and because of those experiences, I’ll never be the same.

7. It’s kind of like having your own personal playground. Between going to do some archery, deciding to trudge the lake in canoes in January, star-gazing out in the soccer field, to laying down on the stage to watch a movie in the Tabernacle, there is so much we get the chance to do here, and I’ve got to say, it’s a lot of fun!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

8. It’s humbling. Over the past 6 months, my family has seen how powerful it can be when people come together for a single purpose. When my Dad broke is leg back in March, seeing the outpouring of love, support, and time from the people of Delanco Camp and the local community, we felt so incredibly humbled.

9. It’s truly a blessing. Honestly, living at camp has been a dream of mine since I was a junior camper. And I feel so grateful to get the chance to be here. God has  been working immensely in my life since I moved onto the grounds in June 2013. While living at camp certainly has it’s ups and downs, there is truly no place I’d rather be then here at Lake Agape.