We recently had our 2019 Youth Lock-in, and our time together was exactly what would be expected from 20 kids spending 12 hours inside a building together: a hurricane of fun, laughter, and energy. For the first 6 hours or so, we basically ran around and made the Holiday Theater into a playground I didn’t really think it could be. I mean, I had never pictured myself playing tag in our sanctuary (well… truth be told, as a 32-year-old I don’t really think about playing tag anywhere!). And it wasn’t just tag that we played — there was also a lot of Sardines, Sharks and Minnows (which I didn’t know was a thing), and Cops and Robbers, all of which slowly drained the best of our energy.

Or so I thought.

Right when the clock struck 3 am and we had just finished what I was hoping would be our last round of Sardines, one of our 6th-graders stands next to me, looks up, and asks: “Caio, what are we playing next?” Upon hearing that, my feeble and exhausted self considered, for a very brief second, collapsing on the floor so as to escape the question. While I didn’t do that, I did look back at her and said: “I’m sorry, but we will need to take a break now and watch a movie.”

And the more I think about all that crazy, young energy I witnessed that night, the more convinced I am that that’s where our greatest hope dwells. And here’s what I mean:

I’m getting to that point in life where I look in the mirror and think, “yep… this is it, man. This is your life. Welcome to it.” (Can you relate at all?) And I don’t mean to say I’m jaded, but simply that I’m becoming aware of my limits and of everything I will not be able to change or accomplish. Inevitably, there is a tinge of powerlessness that comes with that, quite similar to the exhaustion I felt after playing tag for 6 hours.

But then I look to my side and I see the youth bubbling with fresh energy, ready to take things way further.

With the Advent season just around the corner, that’s where I see the Christ being re-birthed: among our young ones. And I don’t mean to place on them the burden to resolve all of the problems I can’t and do everything I never will. What I mean is simply that they still dare to dream and hope, perhaps in ways that I no longer can. And as I strive to encourage them to hold onto that hope, I see a dim light that may just be the path to a better future.

With a lot of love, some hope, (and perhaps even another round or two of tag in me),

Caio