Anna Thomas
Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

In the last week of June every year, my church hosts a summer camp for youth ages 8 and up.

Nativity Youth Camp is an amazing place. A true pilgrimage destination for all who come to participate: campers, counselors, and adult staff. No matter how many times you have been to camp before, each year is a nourishing, spiritual experience. You don’t even need to take my word for it – ask anyone who has ever gone to Nativity Youth Camp, and I guarantee that they will have a story to tell you about how it changed their life.

Days at camp are filled with cooperation, cheers, and worship. Nights are filled with campfires, laughter, and long conversations that go deep into the night.

But miraculously, no matter how late you stay awake, it’s never a challenge to get up the next morning because wake-up call is so moving and special.

At 7:30 every morning, Mr. Arcario, the camp director, visits each cabin and sings the counselors and campers awake in his hearty baritone.

“Rise and shine; give God your glory, glory, children of the Lord.”

It is so wonderful that you wonder if you’re still dreaming.

It’s one of my favorite parts of camp, because so many of the best things throughout the whole week are represented within that one moment. With this serenade, the first thought you have in the day is of the love that Mr. Arcario and the rest of the adult staff have for you.

But if that weren’t enough, with this same song you are reminded that you are God’s child, and that you are alive for a reason. You have a call to action. God commands you to be glorious and show that glory to the world.

I can’t imagine a nicer way to start the day.


Image Copyright: mandygodbehear / 123RF Stock Photo