Going to camp for a month is no small thing. Besides all the packing for the destination stay, there’s all the preparation for the departure site. Read: who will take care of things at home while we are gone? And by “things” I mean the lawn and the dog, neither of which is self-sufficient or hibernatorial. In 20+ years of fairly consistent camp assignments, neither the lawn nor the various dogs have ever been left unattended. I consider this fact to fall somewhere on the miraculous end of the camp prep scale.
One of the blessings of camp life is leaving the things of home back home where they belong.
One of the challenges of camp life is feeling at home when not really at home.
There are several possible ways to accomplish this, some of which are beyond foolish (we’ll just skip over those, shall we?), and others that are tried and true.
1. Avoid the sleeping-on-a-lumpy-mountain-top syndrome, or conversely the sleeping-on-a-lumpy-but-flat-inner-tube debacle by bringing your own pillow. Or two or three.
2. Avoid the what-exactly-is-scrunched-around-my-neck-and-face nightly worries by bringing your own blanket. Or two or three.
3. Bring craft materials. Lots of it. Because there will probably be some six-year-old girls at camp who will require a special diet of sidewalk chalk, glitter, markers, glue, and various doodads. In large daily doses.
4. Bring books. Lots of them. Because there will probably be some . . . oh, let’s just be honest. Because you can’t leave home without them. And by “them” I mean ten. Or maybe twenty. Or more.
5. Find the nearest thrift store and buy a $1.99 string of gigantic illuminated Christmas stars to drape across the front of your camp abode. (Also: probably buy some more books.) Nothing screams sophisticated and classy like a $1.99 string of gigantic illuminated Christmas stars. That blink.
The stars are really the icing on the creating-a-home-away-from-home-sweet-home cake.
More importantly, they are a reminder that we serve the one true God who, at the beginning of all things, spoke the stars into existence, stars that are counted and named.
They are a reminder that we hope kids meet the Creator who laid the foundations of the world while the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy.
They are a reminder that we follow the only fully human/fully divine Messiah whose birth was announced to shepherds and kings alike by a brilliant star.
They are a reminder that we are very small – much smaller than a single real star of the universe – but are still beloved by the Almighty God.When I gaze at the night sky – the moon and stars that You lovingly made and placed and named – I can only cry out: “What are we, Lord, that You would consider us worthy of even one short moment of Your love and attention? Who am I, Lord, that You would become a helpless babe in order to rescue and rebirth me?”
My home-away-from-home sweet home blinking stars are tacky beyond words.
But they are also quirky and delightful and joyful beyond words.
They make me smile, even as they help me remember Who we love and why we are here.