Merry Christmas to you all!
A tradition at Christmas is watching various Christmas specials on TV. When I was growing up, my favorite ones were “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. When I was older, one of the shows that made it onto my watch list was the movie “It's a Wonderful Life”. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey who lives in Bedford Falls, a small village in New York State. Throughout the movie, George has various plans for his life which end up constantly being changed due to various misfortunes. In the movie, George works at a bank, the Building and Loan. When some money goes missing, George is faced with the closure of the bank, the loss of his reputation and the possibility of jail. George stops at a bar and while there drinking, prays, “Dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you are up there and you can hear me, show me the way”. Leaving the bar, George decides that the solution to his problem is to kill himself by jumping off the town bridge. His insurance payout would cover the missing money. But God has heard his prayer and has a different solution. God sends an angel, Clarence Odbody, to help. Clarence jumps off the bridge first and George responds by jumping in to save him. While drying their clothes, George finds out that Clarence is his guardian angel. George tells Clarence it would be better if he had never been born. Clarence realizes this may be the answer and grants his wish. Immediately things change. As George walks through town, he sees all the negative ways his not being born has had on his town and the people he knows. George runs back to the bridge and begs Clarence and God for a second chance. He is granted his desire and runs home to his family. The townspeople, hearing of George’s problem, show up and give him enough money to cover the bank’s loss. Through the experience of never being born, George realized that his life was truly blessed. It wasn’t what he imagined it to be, but he had a wonderful life.
With the pandemic, there was no camp for any of us this summer and it made me think in a similar way to the movie; what if Bethel Bible Camp never was. In 1974, when I was 14 years old, a friend invited me to camp and I heard for the first time I was a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins. I accepted him as Savior. That single decision changed my life forever. Then when I was 18, I was baptized in the river at camp. Over the years after that, I have been a counsellor at camp, helping kids to have a fun week, grow in their faith and for some of them - to come to faith, being forgiven and accepting Jesus as their Savior. I learned to serve, putting others ahead of myself like Jesus did. A few years after starting to counsel at camp, I was asked to be part of the camp committee and learned about leadership and administration which helped prepare me for leadership on various boards and then as an elder at church. My life was changed and has been enriched by BBC. If BBC never existed, all of that may never have happened, and my life would be so much poorer as a result. So, this Christmas I would encourage you to think about the difference Bethel Bible Camp has made in your life and to rejoice that it does exist. The pandemic will end and camps at BBC will run again, impacting many people’s lives in so many positive ways.
- Gary Short, for the BBC Committee