I have always loved traditions. Growing up, my parents passed down and started new traditions with my brother and me year-round, though most of my favorite ones always happened around Christmas time. Lucky for me, Christian is really into traditions too, especially Christmastime traditions, and we’ve already started a few of our own. My all time favorite is our week-before-Christmas dates. Each day or night for a week, we’ll go on special dates: we always see a movie in the theater, we go out to a fancy dinner, we see a Christmas show, watch our favorite Christmas movies, have an early morning Starbucks coffee date, and play Christmas records while we drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. We’ll sometimes throw in other dates, depending on what’s going on that year, but each year I always look forward to that week or two before Christmas – just us.
Because 2015 quickly became the year of some pretty big purchases (moving, our 1st house, an unexpected purchase of a brand new dishwasher, and trading in Christian’s car for an SUV just being a few of those purchases – hello, adult life!), we decided to not do gifts for each other this year and instead just focus on our Christmas dates. And I LOVE that we’re doing that this year – I’d much rather have memories of special moments made and spent together than any material gift, hands down.
A few weeks ago, Christian and I were talking about how this year for our Christmas dates, going to see a show or musical may have to be skipped. Tickets to those things are so expensive and – again – we are all about financially recouping and saving money for the adoption. I’ll tell you right now though, later that night I prayed and told God that my heart felt so disappointed to think we wouldn’t see a Christmas show this year. There’s just something about the singing and dancing and dressing up and singing along to Christmas songs with complete strangers and fake snow coming down from the ceiling at the end, you know?! It always helps me get into the Christmasy spirit. I shrugged it off though, giving so much thanks for all of the amazing things that have happened this year and that we were able to financially afford them.
This past Saturday, Christian told me he was going to take the rest of the evening off work (something he hasn’t been able to do in months!) and that we’d spend time just the two of us. We remembered that our church was having a huge Christmas extravaganza (A Merry Music City Christmas) and decided there was no better way to start our week of dates than by roasting marshmallows, sledding, taking silly Christmas pictures, and seeing some of our friends from church – along with hundreds of other people who would also be there. We had the BEST time but my favorite part was when we ventured inside to listen to some live music…. turns out this wasn’t just a few people singing up on stage. There was singing… dancing… laser lights… singing Christmas songs with complete strangers… and yes- fake snow that fell from the ceiling. It hit me about 30 seconds into the show that THIS WAS OUR CHRISTMAS SHOW.
It was better than I could’ve planned and I left our church that night with a heart filled to the brim with joy and gratefulness. God is so, so good.
Today I am grateful for tradition. I am grateful for special moments with favorite people, and I am so grateful for a God who cares and listens and knows our hearts, a God who wants us to ask, loves to give, and surely must take delight when we allow Him to fill our hearts to the brim.
What are you grateful for?
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