Christmas Eve is upon us.
I’ve been taking a bit of a break from blogging as I tend to various responsibilities in my life. I wanted to take a break from my break to wish you a joyful Christmas. I pray for you all to find time to connect with your husbands and create Christmas memories.
When I was a child, the days leading up to Christmas were filled with anticipation. Presents would slowly appear under the tree. My mom would play Christmas music on the record player. I watched Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch.
On Christmas Eve, we would go to my grandparents’ farmhouse and eat dinner. The grown-ups would play pinochle at the big table, and my many cousins and I would run around in the upstairs bedrooms.
At some point, we would gather in the living room around the aluminum Christmas tree. My grandfather, born in America to parents and siblings who’d arrived from Germany only a few years before, would sing Stille Nacht and O Tannenbaum—auf Deutsch, of course.
We would head home and get to open one gift before heading to bed. In the morning, there was joy and excitement: presents under the tree, gifts to exchange with each other, a wonderful Christmas dinner, and playing all day. The anticipation of it all in the days ahead were dizzying. When Christmas morning arrived, I couldn’t bear to wait another moment. The instant I began to wake up, I raced downstairs to see what was there. I am the reason my parents instituted the 5 am rule: no one could be out of their rooms before 5.
I loved the tradition. I loved the anticipation.
Now that I’m older, I still love tradition and anticipation.
Our traditions are different. My husband and I both grew up in families that celebrated on Christmas Day. Somehow, we became a Christmas Eve family. We go to church, and when we return home Big Guy reads us the Christmas story from Luke. Several years ago, the kids were begging me to let them open gifts on Christmas Eve and I said, “Okay, just this once.” It turned out that we liked it so much that we never changed back. Christmas morning now sees me sleeping in (way past 5), popping a breakfast casserole into the oven when I wake up, and cooking a big Christmas dinner later in the day. Christmas Day is full of eating and napping (and sometimes “napping,” too), and it is lovely.
My heart is filled with far more gratitude than when I as a child. I am thankful as I watch my kids give each other their gifts because I see their hearts for their siblings and the closeness that has developed between them. I appreciate the contentment as Big Guy and I sit with our coffee and enjoy watching our young adult children together. In each face, we see the remnants of the child that once sat on our laps as well as a suggestion of the future.
I am thankful that my marriage has become a source of joy and contentment in my life. The marriage that used to be a source of stress has become a marriage that sustains me.
Mostly I am grateful for Jesus in a way I wasn’t when I was a child. My childhood Christmas view was of Jesus as a baby, with little thought of the life ahead of Him and what that life would do for me. Now I see Christmas through Easter eyes.
As you go through the coming days, take a look at these posts that encourage you to take care of yourself and your marriage.
Take a Break or Two or Three, The Generous Wife
Put Yourselves In the Christmas Photos! Hot, Holy & Humorous
Santa Baby Bedroom Soundtrack Playlist, Bonny’s OysterBed7
Christmas Treasures to Unwrap, To Love, Honor and Vacuum
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Image courtesy of Areeya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net