By the time you read this, you are already seeing and hearing the phrase, “Season’s Greetings.” Stores and companies start promoting earlier and earlier in the year what is becoming known as “The Holidays” instead of Christmas. It may even seem foreign to hear this phrase in the context of LAMP ministry. But there’s a different meaning to it from my perspective. “Season’s Greetings” is welcoming and celebrating a new VBS season, especially for me being the newest LAMP pastor/pilot.
If you look at a LAMP VBS in comparison to Christmas, there are a number of similarities. After all, VBS only comes once a year for most communities and teams. Each of us spends quite a bit of time preparing for Christmas. Various activities and tasks need to be done to make sure that everything is ready for the big celebration. For some of us, it includes travel plans. Shopping is on the agenda. Food. Decorations. Gifts. Packing for travel. All of these undertakings are part of the preparation for Christmas. The expectation… the anticipation… the excitement all builds. Then Christmas arrives. Joy and happiness abound. It’s something that virtually everyone looks forward to taking place.
Just like planning for the coming of Christmas, I work on plans for the VBS teams to go into the communities they serve. I’m talking with the team leader and contacts in the communities to be sure that arrangements for the team’s accommodations and location of the VBS are in place. I prepare for the team’s arrival by visiting with the communities in person whenever possible and taking care of any remaining details. Traveling to the communities is paramount with a large number of fly-in communities. The anticipation and excitement by both the VBS teams and the children in the communities builds with the approaching time when VBS will begin. It is something that virtually everyone looks forward to taking place.
Then the week of VBS arrives. Joy and happiness abound when the teams are in their communities. Team members and children who remember each other are greeted with hugs and smiles. But the best part is that Christmas in the community has arrived. How so? Jesus has come to them in the VBS through God’s Word. And the gifts given are hearing about God’s love, care and hope through Jesus Christ. To be able share the Gospel with the children and the communities is priceless.
Like Christmas, the LAMP VBS comes only once a year to all the communities. But for me, I get to experience it every time I visit a VBS team and community. The joy and happiness I’ve experienced is beyond description, especially seeing the children receive the gift of Jesus’ presence through His Word taught in the VBS and in the team members demonstrating God’s love, care, and hope. I count it a special privilege and blessing to be able to serve the Lord with LAMP and the communities of the north.
For you, and all of my partners, I also count it a special privilege and blessing to have you with me in your prayers and financial support. Without it, there would be no “Season’s Greetings” for these isolated communities. But with your continued support, the Good News of Jesus is reaching the children and communities of northern Canada giving them the hope of the Christmas Christ in their lives.
May you have a blessed and joyful Christmas.