As I pen these words, the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding areas of the beautiful state of Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains, are fighting for their survival because someone chose to light a match and set a fire. Apparently it’s been going on for weeks now, where an unknown person or persons has been setting fires in and around East Tennessee and even into Kentucky. It’s beyond me why anyone would want to do such a cruel act of malice.
Many of you may know from my posts, my husband and I have traveled a great deal. One of our favorite spots is the Great Smoky Mountains in the Gatlinburg area. In fact, we actually own a home there, and for the moment it is safe from the fire. But that said, it is only about ten miles from the fires in two different directions! Needless to say I’m very anxious!
There’s a song sung by Amy Grant and the group, Alabama, called “Tennessee Christmas.” It’s a beautiful melody about how special the Tennessee Hills are, especially at Christmas, with the soft falling snow, laughter, tenderness and love, that is "family” in this special part of the world.
My heart breaks for all those people who have lost their homes, and the businesses, that relied on their customers in this beautiful, tourist community for years, for their welfare! It’s Christmas! Surely they are wondering, “What next?” This is not what they’d hoped for, during this “wonderful holiday season!”
As I watch the news, I think of the children, now displaced without a home. Instead of beautifully wrapped presents under their tree, in the safety of their home Christmas morning, their memory of Christmas is going to be flames, terror and loss. How can this be? Why would someone want to torch the home or lands of someone else?
Arson is a crime! Arson can kill! It certainly displaces people and changes circumstances. Why do people set fires? I keep asking the question, but I can’t make sense of it. There are apparently several theories, including cases of extremism or revenge. In our new world of “terrorism” I can’t help but wonder if it fits that label. “Terrorism.” What an ugly word. It makes me incredibly sad.
So I challenge you, as you read this, to count your blessings. As your children open their gifts beneath your Christmas tree, be truly grateful. There are many children in Tennessee who will not have that blessing this year. What makes that especially sad is the vileness of the reason. It wasn’t a freak act of nature or a fluke accident. Someone deliberately chose to inflict harm and steal their joy.
I also encourage you to consider them, and others, during the remainder of this season. There are those who need your help through no fault of their own. If you can, in the spirit of Christmas, reach out to them!