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Magic of Christmas warms a small mountain town

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

There’s nothing quite like Christmastime in the mountains. The valleys are aglow with twinkling lights and Main Street is adorned with all manner of holiday accoutrements. Smoke billowing from creek rock chimneys set against a backdrop of winter white is enough to make anyone believe in the magic of Christmas. Each year, to take advantage of both the beauty and the spirit of the season, several local events are planned. Nancy Garrick, head of the Johnson County Arts Council is responsible this year for planning two of the season’s most beloved local events – the lighting of the Christmas tree on the courthouse lawn and the Rotary Club Tour of Homes.
The Christmas tree lighting took place in Downtown Mountain City on December 5. The courthouse lawn was filled with many residents eager to welcome the holiday season to Johnson County. Several festive events took place within the lighting celebration including caroling from the Vocal Intensity (an elite division of the Johnson County Middle School Singers). First Christian Church Pastor Dwayne Dickson also attended the event to share with attendees “the reason for the season.” Andy Wright shared with the crowd various legends surrounding the history of the Christmas tree. Wright spoke about customs throughout the world that are thought to have inspired the Christmas tree such as pagan yule celebrations, ancient European celebrations that used a pine bough loaded with apples as a representation of the Garden of Eden and even the legend of a poor woodsman that cared for a lost and hungry child found in the woods on Christmas even though he had very little to spare. The legend has it that the child was actually Christ in disguise and as a reward for his noble deed; the woodsman was given a beautiful sparkling tree.
Regardless of origin, the Christmas tree has become a beloved American tradition and the official Johnson County Christmas tree can now be seen sparkling in all its glory on the courthouse lawn. The lighting was the perfect introduction to the next event – the Rotary Tour of Homes.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's paper.