Do you need a miracle?
God still provides them.
The past 21 months truly have been challenging in ways I never dreamed. There have been times when I have been tired, been scared and have found myself clinging to hope. For me, hope comes from remembering God’s faithfulness and all the things He has brought me through in my life and the miracles that He has done, big and small. So, as we move into the Christmas season, I am reminded that this is a season of hope and of joy, and there’s no better time for miracles to happen. What better place to experience this joy and to get a miracle than Dollywood? That’s just what happened to me a few years ago.
It was November 10, 2019. Smoky Mountain Christmas had just opened at Dollywood for the Christmas season, and my family was there! After all, there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to spend time taking in the sights and sounds of Dollywood at Christmastime.
It was getting late, and we were wandering down through Craftsman’s Valley so that we could get settled in to enjoy the Parade of Many Colors. The one thing I had been wanting was a Dollywood ornament for our Christmas tree. Dollywood had been such a big part of our life that year, and our tree is covered in ornaments that reflect our favorite places and memories. I finally found one about 30 minutes before the parade. We bought it, I stuffed the little brown paper bag into my jacket pocket, and we hustled down to find our spot for the parade.
We staked out our viewing spot down near the duck pond, just past the Mountain Laurel HOME shop. It was so much fun to see the floats and the lights, so we soaked it all in. As we got up to leave, I happened to notice the brown paper bag was not in my pocket. So I frantically looked all around our bench but no bag!
I told my husband Bobby that I could not find it, so he looked around a bigger area where we had been—still, no bag. It was dark, cold, and we were wiped out from the fun day, so I told him we should just go on and leave. He insisted we retrace our steps just a little bit. I felt certain there was no chance of finding this bag because it was dark, the park was quite crowded and really, I thought one of the park hosts had swept it up thinking it was trash because they keep the park so clean.
Bobby looked in a few of the trash cans with his phone flashlight as we started retracing our path down to our parade spot. I told him [again] we should just go because it was not worth it, but he kept looking. About the fifth or sixth trash can on our path, a Dollywood security officer very kindly asked us what we were doing.
“We lost a brown paper bag with an ornament in it and were just seeing if it got thrown away,” Bobby answered.
The security guard reached in his pocket, and pulled something out. “You mean this brown paper bag?”
I stood there absolutely stunned. And, then my eyes started to fill up with tears.
“Do you know where you lost it?” he asked.
“I have no idea,” I answered.
“It was in front of Aunt Granny’s Restaurant. Someone picked it up and gave it to me. I was going to take it to Lost and Found.”
Friends, it was dark.
It had been missing for at least 45 minutes before I noticed.
There were thousands of people in the park.
We could have just left like I suggested.
The person who found it could have thrown it away, kept it or ignored it.
That security officer could have been anywhere in that park or gone anywhere after getting the package.
And yet, he was standing in our path, with the ornament, saw us and stopped to speak to us.
What are the chances?
Yes, miracles still happen. Big and small. Sometimes they happen in a crowded theme park. Sometimes they come in the form of crossing paths with the right people at just the right time—who happen to have the ornament that you lost.
Now, every time I put the Dollywood ornament on our tree, I am reminded of our story. I am reminded that there is always hope and that God still provides miracles of all sizes—in the most incredible ways.
I hope this story brings a smile to your face like it still does mine. Merry Christmas!