Yesterday was Boxing Day 2012, the day many will remember as our first real snowfall of the winter - and boy did the snow fall! And fall...it was quite deep by the time I left Cambridge last night.
For me, yesterday was the first time I went to a Boxing Day Conference. This conference has been happening for nearly 30 years (no one seemed to remember the exact age of the conference). It's a conference put on by the Cambridge Orthodox Christian Reformed Church by their Young Peoples (YPs) group and for YPs across southern Ontario. I've always felt a little 'old', since the conference is open to teens starting at sixteen. But, my friend Kevin, who's church was putting on the event, challenged my thinking and reminded me of the importance of some of us older folk attending these conferences by saying "I know a good number of people who reflect on how much they were blessed by having the older people stay in the group". And then I remembered how blessed I have been when older people poured into my life, and what a blessing it has been to learn from many people in different stages of life.
So I went.
And I'm SO glad I did!!
The day started off with a speech by Rev. Luimes of Nobleton URC titled "As Iron Sharpens Iron", based on Proverbs 27:17. There were discussion groups and then a Q&A with Rev. Luimes which were both profitable and good reminders. It's important for us to be encouraging (and rebuking) one another as Christians - and Rev. Luimes made a great point that when we make a habit of encouraging each other, when the time comes for a gentle rebuke, we know it is done out of love based on the relationship that has already been established. Also, someone pointed out that "iron sharpening iron" is a metaphor of equal proportions - it's not a knife sharpening block and a knife, where one is used specifically to sharpen the other (almost like a hierarchy), but that we are equals as Christians; which of course led to important conversations about those relationships where we may be the more mature or experienced Christian (age can be irrelevant here, think for example of a person who becomes a Christian at 60, being mentored by someone 20 years their junior) - it is always important to remain humble and encouraging. I'm reminded of the acronym, THINK - the concept is that you THINK before you speak, is it:
After the speech and discussion, we had pizza lunch and enjoyed good conversation. There was a good representation of some of us 'old' folk, people that attend the All Ontario Reformed Young Adults (AORYA) group, about a dozen or so of the ninety that attended. We had some good chuckles over Chris' "ugly Christmas vest" and our initial reactions to it and how we all tried to be so polite, even though we all thought it was quite ugly (which, we discovered later, was the intended effect!)
Next we were sent back to the auditorium for a human sized version of Apples to Apples! This was awesome. Instead of playing the card game, we were broken off into groups and had to create a skit from one of our red cards, in an effort to win one of the green cards. Our group didn't win any of the 6 rounds we played, but we had a lot of fun. For the red card "Canadians" we acted out an episode of Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans", for the red card "Pigeons" we pretended one person was on a tour of NYC and pigeons were flocking around different tourist spots (I was the Statue of Liberty). Even though we didn't win, we had a good time laughing, so that's what is important, right?
Then we headed into Cambridge for a game of bowling. I signed up with Ruth, Aria, Rachel and a couple guys from Aria and Rachel's church. My carpal tunnel started acting up, so I put on my wrist band - and lo and behold, my game improved greatly! I got a couple strikes, a spare and doubled my teammates score in the first game! Apparently I just needed something to force my arm to stay straight - Nanna would've been so proud!
After bowling we went out for dinner - poor wait staff! Our group was the only one who thought ahead to call and make reservations (for 15), there were probably about 40 that ended up there for supper. Oops! At least they were busy...right?
Then we went skating, which I'm terrible at. But thankfully I had a good chat with Sheryl and got a bit of a workout in on a day when I didn't make it to the gym. She reiterated much of what Kevin said about having some of the older people attend YPs events, and how it's important and beneficial for all. I'll probably go back whenever I'm not in BC for Christmas.
Finally, the snow didn't stop us from having a bonfire out in Rockton, so we drove to one of the organizer's homes and had a big fire and sang some worship songs. It was such a beautiful time, worshipping God out in creation, with snow all around and watching as snowflakes fell and were melted by the rising flames, and listening to the voices of so many people who love God, singing praises.
It was the perfect end to a beautiful Christmas - which I haven't even written about yet! Another day...my hands are a little sore.