Stop, Look, and Listen


I was a little apprehensive about going into the Christmas season down here at the beach…

One of those Home Alone movies kept popping in my head of the whole family sitting inside watching Christmas movies in ugly sweaters with a palm tree all lit up and them wanting to go home….did that happen in one of those movies?? I think it had to?!  Anyways, I guess I mentally prepared myself for the worst case scenario, since Christmas is my favorite season.  I even bought myself some cranberry candles and spray so I could make myself feel Christmassy…I pulled out reinforcements before I needed to be reinforced.  While I will admit, it has been a little odd listening to Christmas music on days where it was up to 70 degrees…However, this season here in Destin has far exceeded my expectations.

There are quite a few activities that serve to help you get in the spirit of the season as well as focus on the reason for the season…

A couple weeks ago “The Church of Destin,” aka all the churches in the area, got together to have a night of Christmas music.  There was something for everyone… A rock song, opera, southern gospel style music, caroling with out instruments, a choir, pianist, quartette, and even a little bit of Jamaican themed Christmas music.

It was awesome!  I feel like I have lived in quite a few cities, and I have never lived in a community that is so welcoming of churches coming together as one church.  I have been to three events in my 90+ days of living here where the churches bound together to celebrate Christ together.  That is pretty awesome.  I have never seen anything like it.  To see Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God, Non Denom all under one roof and for it to be a regular annual activity,…that is amazing.  Truly a sign of the Lord at work in this community.

That is just the beginning.  There are parades in Fort Walton and Destin and the surround cities.  There is even one neighborhood in Fort Walton that takes a weekend and has these enormous light displays that sometimes sync up with the music on the radio.  At night the families in the neighborhood all pull out their fire pits and tailgating tents and cook out while people drive through the neighborhood.  It is so neat because it is not some rando thing you pay to drive through that someone spends the whole year working on, but it is neat because it is so family oriented and done by families.  Check out this nativity scene from the neighborhood… it was beautiful.

nativity

Even the malls and outlets all put out there Christmas lights and trees,…I just stood and stared at this tree.  Yes, there is palm trees in it too…but where is there not palm trees here?  But these are not like the palm trees from Home Alone. They are happy palm trees that kind of accent the Christmas tree making it stand out more. Kinda cool and different.

commons

Tree at the Destin Commons

Then at DUMC, we have had two weekends that were special…one for a children’s Christmas musical and then another morning where the choirs and orchestra come and do a contadda.  Both were amazing and both groups have been working on their pieces since the beginning of the school year!  In our student ministry, we had Christmas parties for the band and tech, a night of worship, and SNeLf.  Young adults…more Christmas parties with White Elephant games and all.

snelf

SNeLf

All that to say, I am sooo ready for Christmas!  I have enjoyed being able to see and take part in so many different outlets that point to Christ and reminding us of how His one second of deciding to step off the throne of grace and come to earth literally changed everything for us.

Things are so busy that I see how if you don’t stop a moment to actually look, listen and take in what is really happening, you might just miss the whole point of all these things.  I sure hope that as much as this community has blessed me this season through their celebrating that it is blessing those who are just here for the season and those who are unbelievers or half hearted believers.  Even if people for some reason don’t get it…it won’t be because this community didn’t try.  To me the messages have been crystal clear.  This community has done the opposite of “politically correct.”  Which, ironically is exactly what our Savior often times was…even from the get go His birth wasn’t “politically correct.”  At the same time…it is nothing but correct. Well done, community of faith. Well done, Destin.  May your joy for the Lord be like a flame that has been fanned.

Merry Christmas!

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