What do you want for Christmas? No, really, I mean it. What would you choose if you could have anything? A new cell phone? New clothes? Video game? Various “things”. Or, possibly a new job? Or a new home? A new car?

Maybe you came up with a dollar figure — a million dollars. Ten million? What about a new “situation”? New friends, perhaps. Or new co-workers? A new relationship?

Some young children may stay locked onto the idea of the new toys, but knowing you, I’m guessing it won’t take long before you get to the heart of the question and start to think deeply about what you really want. And you know, as do I, that as much as we may think about the “things” that are out there to be bought, what we really want is not for sale at any mall, at any price.

What we really want is better ideas, better thought, and better prayers.

We want peace. Peace for our children to grow up safely and wisely.

We want to love, and to be loved. We want to be respected and acknowledged for who we are as children of God, and what we contribute to our communities.

We want to be less critical of our neighbours and our politicians and our children and our parents and our church members.

We want to know God better. We want to feel close to Him.

And as much as we want these things, we also know that we are not ever going to wake on Christmas morning and discover that these are under the tree.

These kind of presents have to be “cultivated” in our thinking, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t take a lot of time to do that. The cultivation can be as quick as changing our thoughts. In the biblical story of the ‘prodigal son’ a wayward young man finds that even when he thinks he is “yet a great way off” (Luke 15:20) from his father-mother God, his father saw him and ran to meet him, so grateful that the son had returned, wanting to be closer to the Father, God, and His good thoughts.

An opportunity to practice this type of cultivated thinking is exactly what Camp Bow-Isle offers campers and staff each summer. Here at Camp, surrounded by a community of individuals who are all working to acknowledge God on a daily basis, it seems easier, somehow, to pray and think carefully about what you REALLY want.

This is a gift that lasts a lifetime, never needs batteries, and we never outgrow. In fact, it gets better every year. Whether you send your own children, or support camp with a donation this Christmas Season, we know that this gift will benefit campers, staff, families, and ultimately all of us because campers bring this cultivated thinking back with them to home, school, and friends. This place is all about Love, the very best gift of all.

Jon Heath