The Lights of Christmas, Memories of God’s Faithfulness

The Lights of Christmas, the largest Christmas Festival in the PNW, at Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, one hour north of Seattle.

I have vivid memories of that very first day of The Lights of Christmas in 1997. It was a cloudy day, without rain and fairly warm for December. I remember standing in front of Cedar Lodge, when for the first time, everything came together. All 500,000 lights were on, the music of the Nativity played behind me with the message and hope of Christmas, “Christ Is Born,” prominently displayed on the lodge.

It is difficult to describe all that went on in my heart at that moment. Gratitude, joy, amazement, and a sense of awe and humility that God had allowed me to be part of His amazing work that we  call The Lights of Christmas.

I thought to myself, “had it really only been twelve months earlier that we had begun the journey?” Our mission was “To create a family-oriented experience in the Pacific Northwest that lavishly celebrates the Christmas message.”  How could we be silent when the world needed a Savior? At a time of year that people are more open to the Gospel than any other season, how could we not do this?

So many long days, so many challenges and obstacles, and here we were. God’s faithfulness had never wavered, and we were about to open the gates and share His love with all who would come.

Hallelujah!

That was only the beginning! By year three, we had a million lights, 100 volunteers, five entertainment venues, all for the purpose of bringing light and hope to over 50,000 people. So many sweet memories were made, and new friendships formed along the way as well. Lessons learned, vision expanded, understanding deepened, God was at work in us – in me – as well as in those who came.

Certainly, it was hard. Each year has had its unique challenges. I remember praying over the Nativity’s flying angel through many a stormy night. The year the Maple Center was built, we decorated it in faith, not receiving the occupancy permit until the day we opened the event! There were power outages, fog, windstorms, snow, and more. But God didn’t change. His faithfulness has seen us through, and still does.

I am overwhelmingly grateful that we have found a way to be open in 2020. The Lights of Christmas presents… A Drive-Thru Christmas is again, a way for us here at Warm Beach Camp to be a light in a very dark world.  How can we be silent in 2020? This year, of all years, we are in need of HOPE.

I am humbled to have been a part of The Lights of Christmas. And I am exceedingly blessed to watch the current event leadership and staff of Warm Beach Camp, rise to the challenges of this season and continue what God began all those years ago, “bringing good tidings of great joy to all people!”

Jeannie Patterson
The Lights of Christmas Director
1997-2003

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