It's Christmas Eve in Gulf Shores and I can't tell you where people are, but I can tell you where they aren't. They aren't anywhere near Gulf Shores. A teeming resort in the summer, the whole area is virtually deserted at the moment. Yesterday when I went shopping late in the afternoon, the mall was empty. I must have looked lost because a kindly salesperson said to me, "Do you go shopping once a year?" I smiled and said, "What gave it away?" I guess it was the utterly clueless look on my face. I needed some help putting a gift together so she took something from one hangar and something from another, winked and said, "I don't know who did that."
This morning we went to two different churches and discovered both were closed or they had changed their service times. So now we're looking at Christmas Eve services later tonight.
By the way, I'm reliably informed that Gulf Shores will be filled with people next weekend. Someone who lives here year-round said no one is here during Christmas week but there will be huge crowds for New Year's.
Meanwhile I'm happy to send out a Christmas Eve shout out to Dr. Barney Guyton in Tupelo, Carrie Cleaver and Rosemary Turner in Chicago, Bob and Sue Marder in River Forest, IL, Drs. Sam and Mary Pace in Tupelo, Keith and Bev Haselhorst in Lancaster, PA, Howie and Jeannette Bowen in Hudson Falls, NY, to my blogging buddy Rodney Olsen in Australia, Michael and Jo Beth Loftis with AWBE, Bob and Lynne Trout in Bogota, Columbia, Jan Buckles, Daniel Calle in Peru, Ross and Marion Hauser in Oak Park, Chuck Odell, Pastor Vern Martin, Zach Taylor in Old Hickory, TN, James Blute, Pastor Larry Stevens, Barry Beebe, president of New Brunswick Bible Institute, Sue Swiantek, Ed and Julie Zaccari, Mike Stowell, Sam and Mary Pace, Don and Nancy Hoy, Peter and Bruce in China, Bill Boylston, Megan Kudo, Victor and Julie Marcionetti, Michael Fields, Stephen McGarvey, Jim and Darlene Miskovic, Erika and Noe Brambila, and a special shout out to my friend Peter Odanga in Mombasa, Kenya, Kathy Loo in Malaysia, Pastor Timothy Smith in Bloomsburg, PA, to Edward Ryan serving with the United States Navy, Pastor Ralph Wingate, Jr. in Normal, IL, Pastor H. B. Charles, Jr. in Los Angeles, Barry Speck in Canada and a special prayer for Ellen Hale in Whittier, CA.
I'm glad to add a shout out to Bill and Nicole Maskiell in Belmont, MA, Sam and Lovice Nicosia, Bob and Barb Berry, and to Pastor Jim Nicodem in St. Charles, IL, and also to Rick and Lynn Suddith in Russellville, AL.
And a very happy shout out to Vanessa in China. Thanks for sending the shout out our way. And a special thanks and shout out to Tim and Elsa for keeping the "Hotel McKee" open whenever our boys are in town.
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