Have you ever heard of Fort Christmas? It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? When I first heard the name, I visualized an outpost near the North Pole
for Santa and his reindeer to protect penguins from polar bears. But, in reality, it’s a fort in Florida where construction commenced on Christmas Day back in 1837 during the Second Seminole War. However, the war moved southward,and the fort was abandoned after just two months.A hundred and forty years later, Fort Christmas was rebuilt as a living history settlement to preserve the rural heritage of Florida. Fort Christmas Historical Park is just 45-minutes northeast of Disney World and free of charge…a place where kids can roam without fighting crowds or getting lost. Rolling in the grass, petting the cats, or chatting with the interpreters are all acceptable parts of the experience.I found it totally charming…a pleasant retreat back in time with a gently educational flavor,and something that could definitely counterbalance Disney mania
one afternoon if you’re in the Orlando area. I was particularly struck by the story of Fort Christmas
(as a response to attack that retrospectively seemed unnecessary)
because it reminded me of Fort Wilkins near Copper Harbor, Michigan, which I wrote about last September. (https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/fort-wilkins-incognito/) In both cases, our military responded out of fear
in a way that appeared unwarranted. I don’t want to draw any false conclusions about military strategy
from these 2 instances, but it did make me ponder my own life and recall times I’ve responded out of fear rather than seeking God’s direction in frightening circumstances.Safety lies not in self protection, but in obedience to the Lord,who desires us to be at peace so that we can “serve him without fear,”walking “in holiness and righteousness before him.” That’s why God sent Jesus to us that Christmas so long ago.
We don’t need a Fort Christmas, we just need Christ, who is our fortress!
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:68-75)
(I took all the photos at Fort Christmas near Christmas time, 2014. The Santa cartoon is from Santatelevision.com)