My first job was working as a summer camp counselor. I don’t think I was very qualified or properly prepared to play such a role. I was too young and didn’t know what I was doing. Originally, I was hired to help work in the barn, but they needed a counselor and I was it. Somebody must have thought that if I could care for animals, I could look after a group of ten-year-old boys.
My role involved spending the day – the whole day – with the kids. We slept in the same cabin together and I would get them up each morning. The day was spent going from activity to activity, sharing meals, and ended with a camp fire before bed time. It was an exhausting schedule for people of any age. The next morning it started all over again.
Each week, a fresh bunch of boys would descend upon the camp. Everyone started out as complete strangers. What I learned, however, was that relationships develop and deepen really quickly when you spend the whole day together for seven days in a row. Over the course of a week, I would grow attached to the campers. Many of the boys would look to me as their friend and leader. We shared the week together and really came to care for one another.
One translation of John 1:14 reads, “Jesus pitched his tent among us and we have beheld his glory, the glory of the One and Only, Son of God.” That is, Jesus came to camp among us. Isaiah prophesied that God was going to send a Messiah who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
When I read that the Messiah will be called a ‘wonderful counselor’, I don’t think of a therapist or high school advisor. I tend to think of my summer camp experience and how the counselor’s job was to spend all their time with the campers. We watched over them, helped them, settled disputes, played silly games, had honest talks and just loved them. For one short week, we did life together and we had fun.
I’m sure that as a counselor I made many mistakes. Jesus is our ‘wonderful counselor’ we can completely rely on. He’s happy to be spending the day with you. Enjoy.