By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Christmas is quickly approaching and the mountaintop area has already experienced is first snow, so the community knows that winter is coming. Holiday decorations and lights are already going up on homes and stores all over, as part of the Crestlights contest.
The whole community is invited to attend this Saturday night’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, albeit a unique take on the Lake Gregory tree lighting experience.
Sponsored by all the local churches – including Woodlands Bible Church, Crestline First Baptist Church, Lake Gregory Community Church, Jubilee Christian Fellowship, Savior’s Realm, the Mountain Hope Center, New Life Fellowship and others – and San Bernardino County Regional Parks, they invite residents and visitors to drive their cars into the North Shore parking lot at Lake Gregory following the parking attendants’ directions for a good viewing location, next to the beach.
The tree lighting event will start at 5 p.m. and is designed as a socially distanced event because all families will remain in their vehicles during the ceremony, with the cars parked separated from each other. Everyone will listen to the service through their car radios as the program will be broadcast to their cars, live. The broadcast frequency will be on a sign as you enter.
Most of the rest of the elements of the annual event will remain similar to years past. There will be Christmas carol singing, led by youth pastor John of Woodlands Church. This year, since each family will be in their own cars, they may choose to open their windows and share their voices or harmonize only with their family members. The retelling of the Christmas story will be shared by Matt Story of New Life Christian Fellowship.
The directors of Pilot Rock Conservation Camp wanted to decorate the Christmas tree as they have traditionally done for Crestline but, since the camp is being transformed into another use, they regret they could not do so this year. So, it should be a wonderful surprise to see what is created for this year’s ceremony and who does the lighting.
This year’s tree lighting may actually be more enjoyable without everyone having to stand in the often-freezing temperatures in the outdoor air as it has been the last couple years; the forecast is much better for this coming Saturday night and having your own car to stay warm in and bringing your own hot chocolate and cookies should add to your family’s fun.
“It is understood a surprise guest many arrive during the ceremony,” said Pastor Bill Mellinger. “It is exciting how all the churches get together to present this wonderful event as a gift to the community every year. This year, we’re doing it in a socially distanced way and invite everyone in the whole community to attend and share this event. This is all about community, and we want to share this tree lighting with you.”
The annual countdown to the tree lighting at 6 p.m. should be fun as folks yell from their cars. The lighting will probably be followed by loud horn honking of approval, so the whole town should be aware of the moment the tree actually lights up. This event always officially ushers in the Christmas season in Crestline.
If the tree lighting is postponed due to weather or other unforeseen situations, it will occur the next weekend, same time and place.