We do not have to orchestrate moments to pontificate about the “commercialization of Christmas;” instead God beckons us to come to the party. Even in the hustle and bustle of this season we still find God’s presence around us. Have you personally discovered the joy of this season? Can you sing with a sincere heart “… joy to the world, the Lord is come!”? Relax, join the celebration!

(Below is an article written for Dollywood Employee’s by Chaplain Joey Buck)

At Dollywood we celebrate the sights and sounds of Christmas for two months! This transformation has astonished me. With this being my first year serving as Chaplain for Dollywood I was not sure exactly what to expect. But when our guests enter through the turnstiles each of you definitely help bring to life a winter wonderland- no matter the temperature outside! Like the old carol sings “In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile.” A festive and breathtaking time of year, no doubt.

You sweep the grounds, serve a hot chocolate, entertain with your singing, greet guests with a cheery grin… the days are short, the nights are long… it is cold, your feet hurt, and you are worn out. In the timeless tale, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the White Witch has laid a terrible spell on Narnia; it is always winter and never Christmas. A feeling all too common to many of us these days.

But the good news is Christmas is coming! These next few weeks (beginning the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas Day) are traditionally recognized as the period of Advent. The word “advent” simply means “coming”, and the Christmas season is a vivid reminder that not only has Christ come as a little child, but Christ will come again to fulfill the promises of God.

Prophecy, promises, and preparation- all are part of the Advent tradition. They serve as reminders in this hectic season that there is more to prophecy than guessing what is in the package; more to promises than what Santa Clause will bring; more to preparation than cleaning house and putting on a spread for a holiday party. We are called back to the longing, not for a certain present, but for a God who brings about a beloved community of harmony and peace.

Amid your responsibilities as a “professional” on Park, take a moment to prepare your heart and mind to receive God’s gifts of love and hope.
This Christmas season, we celebrate Light coming into the world. We celebrate God sending his Son Jesus to show us what God looks like. Make this season a personal experience, look in the middle of the celebrations and find God’s presence.