For someone in my position (Christian Education Director at a church), there are two major defining moments each year: the Christmas Program and Vacation Bible School. Over the past six years that I’ve been doing this, we’ve had some pretty memorable performances in December. The kids work hard and start memorizing songs and lines in October. We do it up big with staging and lights and costumes. On the day of the program, the place is packed with parents and grandparents. The kids inevitably rise to the occasion and the congregation always gives them a standing ovation. It’s a glorious feeling of accomplishment for the young folks. (See December 20, 2010 post)
VBS, however, is a whole different thing. For this event, adults are the ones who work for months to pull off a big 4 day party for the kids. In January, we begin scouring thrift stores and sale racks for decor that fits the theme. We put out a call to start collecting whatever the craft person is going to need in abundance, whether it’s toilet paper cardboard tubes or empty tin soup cans. We go all out to make sure the kids who come through our doors have a blast at church. (See June 29, 2010 post)
This year’s theme is “Pandamania: Where God Is Wild About You”. We will be creating an Asian bamboo jungle, with lots of panda bears. At first I thought this was going to be tough. I have no stuffed pandas in the storage closet and no bamboo growing in my backyard.
But it’s amazing what happens when you begin looking with an eye for something specific. At the Dollar Store, lo and behold: a whole crate full of little panda puppets and stacks of Chinese lanterns. At Goodwill, whadya know: a pile of 6 foot tall fake bamboo. In my own sewing cabinet, voila: fabric that will make a great waterfall. Suddenly, I am seeing this stuff everywhere! It’s like my mind is directing my eyes to see what I normally would overlook.
I think the same thing happens with God. Going through my day without an awareness of God, or “an eye” for Him, I am more likely to be oblivious to His wondrous activity all around me. When my focus is on pandas, they seem to show up everywhere. When my focus is on God, He does, too.