Christmas Time in the Family

My wife has always loved Christmas. So when I proposed her hand in marriage at Valentine’s in 1993, we became husband and wife that Christmas on December 18th.

wedding-001

She hand-made our invitations, designed bridesmaid dresses, and crafted many of the decorations for the church, some of which we still decorate our house with each Christmas.

Santa Claus made the guest list and arrived near midnight to bless others with small gifts. It was a beautiful sight and a special day. (Though I’m not sure my wife foresaw the six Christmas-themed showers.

Very nice indeed, but how many home decorations and ornaments can a guy who needs tools require?)teachersweater-2

My kids have inherited my wife’s love of Christmas.

Not that I’m grinchy or scroogy, but it took a few Christmases with her and my in-laws to fully open my heart to Christmas itself.

Now I happily string lights in keeping with the Griswalds…with a little less of the Griswald overabundance in theme or color scheme.

In my case, the delayed joy is likely because I had earlier negative memories. My parents had a terrible fight the night before their last Christmas together when I was a teen, and it sure made for an awkward Christmas morning.

After that, it seemed somewhat empty for the remainder of my single years, not feeling like the family was complete. I half-heartedly took part in other interests that were hardly family or Christian traditions.

Thankfully, I was saved from that emptiness when God sent me my wife. Even though we didn’t meet at Christmas, the fact that we got married during the Christmas season reminds me she was my greatest gift, other than the Christ child Himself.wedding-dance-001

So as we celebrate each year, I revel in what still seems like a fresh joy for Christmas as I spend time with my family and extended family.

Opening gifts takes two hours Christmas morning (not that we buy extravagant gifts, just copious amounts).

We overeat sumptuous food, watch movies, and play games. I always object that the original version of Trivial Pursuit is obsolete, yet it’s first on the games’ list anyway.

As the years progress, we’ve lost parents or they weaken with ailments (as we’ve written in previous articles).

With our children going through or nearing university education, we feel some sadness for our losses without having to put on the “game face” that was truly authentic when our kids were little.

It’s true Christmas can be the most joyous of occasions or the toughest of times, depending on the health or status of losses in families…or plain loneliness in other cases.

There’s one constant that will always make it joyous, regardless of family status. Keep Christ at the center of your heart and dedicate the season to Him. Family status is not a choice, but choosing joy (the whole year through) is a choice. This is not about the controversy regarding “keeping Christ in Christmas,” or saying “Happy Holidays” and having no public nativity scenes to be politically correct. It’s a purely individual choice to be joyful. Love Christ for coming to earth to save us, and love others to display that gratefulness.

Family is the best place to start with this love.

Treasure them as your best gift besides Christ, because they are! Then even the “secular” carols will become more meaningful. Chestnuts roasting, winter wonderlands, decking halls, even figgy pudding and Santa baby will not produce a “humbug” out of you. However, there truly is no substitute for “Joy to World, the Lord is Come.”

Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas to my true love.

Luke 2:10 …behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. imgp0037

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