Hey Y’all: The Roadtrip
I love a roadtrip when it involves friends because nothing is more exciting than setting out on a journey with good conversations and tons of snacks. It makes my heart happier than I could say and our little tribe has made it a tradition to do this instead of buying each other Christmas gifts. I mean, what better way to show you love someone than be cooped up in a car with them for 8+ hours?!? This trip was particularly special as a long awaited celebration and rest for all four of us.
If you have been listening to Hey Y’all: The Podcast then you know that we picked this destination months ago because some of us had never been to Dollywood and none of us had been at Christmas. If anyone could do Christmas right, I was positive that it would be Dolly and let me tell you, she didn’t disappoint! If you want to experience Christmas in some strange mash up of “Little House on the Prairie”, “The Waltons” and every Hallmark movie ever, this is your chance.
There were bells… some of them silver. Santa was waiting to hear from anyone who needed a chat and greeted everyone on the way out. The Christmas food was just as stodgy and filling as you would hope and this South Mississippi girl got as close to a White Christmas as ever in her life.
And if you’re concerned about being the only adults wandering around “Toyland” you would be mistaken. I saw more women dressed to match on girls weekends than I’ve probably ever seen in one place and you can easily understand why. It was all festive and fun and whimsical and lovely BUT there was something that struck me more than anything and that was Jesus.
I’ve visited Dollywood many times but this time I was truly struck by how much of the Gospel was on show. Maybe it’s the season or how under fire the Truth seems to be that I was moved almost to tears with the weight of it. Truly, I somehow found myself in the little chapel all alone while the girls were riding roller coasters and for a few moments I was able to sit in a little, humble sanctuary listening to the joy outside its doors, the carols being sung and I was able to just reflect on so much that I often miss in the hustle and bustle of my daily life… even at my home church. To finish the night with the scriptures read and the story of the first Christmas presented in the sky was about more than any of us could take. One of the four cried… I’ll let you guess who!
In a strange twist, my super commercialized Christmas trip to a theme park brought me back to the heart of what the season is truly about and to the foundational thread that has been woven through my 37 Christmases. I kept having the lines of the old carol sing in my head,
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
It’s a truth that hasn’t changed through the millennia even in the times that feel incredibly dark and for me, that’s what makes Christmas so breathtaking.