Seeing the students from Edmonton Christian Northeast and Edmonton Christian West schools head off to winter camps these past weeks, reminded me of one of my favourite creation-enjoying moments from my 15 years of winter camping with Edmonton Christian Schools’ students. I wrote the following for a school newsletter, more than 20 years ago:
God gave a group of winter-campers from West School a special gift that night. Sure, I know that God is good and that every good thing in our lives is a gift. But this gift was different. It was special–the kind that comes just at the right moment and leaves you with a feeling of warmth and wonder. I can’t show you the gift, I can only tell you about it and hope to share just a tiny bit of that warmth and wonder.
Thirty three winter-campers were on a small hill on their walk back from Narrows Lake [near Athabasca]. The night was dark, much darker than it ever gets in the city, and the minus thirty temperature had us all thinking about how we were going to stay warm during the night. But even the cold temperatures and the anxiety about the night could not keep us from looking upward at the spectacular night sky.
We stopped on top of that hill to teach the grade 8 students one more survival lesson for the day: the simple survival skill of locating Polaris (the North Star) in the night sky. The students located the Big Dipper and then used the pointer stars to find Polaris…
But God had a lesson plan too. Just at the very moment our whole group was standing focussed on that one small part of the big night sky, God summoned up a meteor to streak past Polaris. There was an audible expression of awe from the entire group. Although it had lasted only a second or two, it was a gift that each of us could take with us as we turned and continued down the path to our lean-tos
We all gathered a little later that night for a brief devotional. It really wasn’t necessary though. God had already lead a devotion that couldn’t be matched. In doing so He had given us a gift. Maybe that’s why minus thirty didn’t feel quite so cold that night.
West Weekly, Feb 1992
With today’s instant access to pictures and videos, awe is in short supply and in our celebrity focussed culture it is often misdirected. The February through line, Creation-Enjoying, invites us once again to be awe filled.
May we not miss the “Polaris moments” that God gives us. May we find pure wonder, joy and awe in the skies and marvel at the beauty of the earth. May we find life’s direction in those moments and may we then sing, “Our God is an awesome God!”