Merry Christmas from the Executive Director, Kyle Mills
Advent is a special time of year. It is a time of hope, of expectation, of waiting. It is a time of faith, as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. And for us here at Annunciation Heights, a camp whose name is so closely connected with the Incarnation, this time of year is especially poignant.
But there is a “problem:" Christmas shopping, Christmas trees, Christmas dinner, Christmas travel, Christmas lights, Christmas parties, Christmas cookies – and the list goes on and on. All these good Christmas things can sometimes take the place of soaking in the reality of Christmas itself! Advent can quickly turn into a season of stress and waiting – not for the birth of our Messiah – but anxiously waiting to get it all over with!
How do we turn what is one of the busiest seasons of the year into one of mystery and joy? Do we not buy gifts for our loved ones, forgo hanging the lights or putting up the tree? Should we avoid the work Christmas party, tell the kids there are no cookies this year, and disinvite the relatives? Maybe! But probably not.
I don’t claim to have a complete solution for this, but I do take some encouragement from the Blessed Mother. When the angel came to her to announce the mystery and miracle of the Incarnation what was her response? “Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). “Let it be done…” – what an incredible saying! It was God’s action and her active passivity to let God accomplish in her life that which has given us Christmas in the first place. She made herself a gift to God so that He could give Himself as a gift to us. Perhaps we can follow her lead; when we are scurrying around town trying to get all the Christmas stuff done, maybe we can echo her prayer in our circumstances: “Lord, let all the stuff be done, according to your word – the gifts, the lights, the tree, the travel”. If it all has to be done, let it be done, according to His word!
From all of us here at Annunciation Heights, I want to wish you and yours a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas. We wish to thank you for helping us make this a place of tremendous blessing and fruitful ministry. Since we opened our doors exactly two years ago we have welcomed 6,845 guests with 142 different guest groups; have hosted 1,662 JPII Outdoor Lab students, served 264 summer campers at our first ever summer camp, and hosted nearly 80 families at family camps. Thank you to countless others who have attended our Work and Worship Weekends, have given to us financially, and have prayed for our staff and missionaries.
And yes, we have grown. We have ten full-time staff and ten Altum Institute Missionaries, all here to facilitate an encounter with Jesus in the beauty of His creation. We look forward to serving you in the coming year and, with your help, continuing to spread Christ's love to all we meet in our daily lives. Annunciation Heights exists for this purpose, to serve each and every one of you in the truth and love of Christ's Gospel message, a message of begun in the flesh two millenia ago in the humble Bethlehem stable. May your days this season be filled with joy, happiness, and holiness!