To tell of our first Christmas I will simply relate a few moments, of the many, throughout the holiday season that were special to me.
– Advent : Justin and I almost missed doing advent this year, but then a week and a half before Christmas Justin brought home an advent wreath and 5 pudgy candles along with a selection of Scripture passages and carols and announced that though we had missed a few weeks we would be starting advent that very night! And so, on that day, unbeknownst to us, we embarked on one of the most special experiences of our married life. For the first few candles we shut off all the lights and only had the small flickering flames to illuminate the Bible as we read and sang the carols of old. The house was dark and the atmosphere reverent and quietly filled by the present of the Holy Spirit as we sang acapella about how Christ came to save us in the form of an infant. I will always remember those moments, candle by candle, as some of sweetest times of our first Christmas together and will forever be thankful that we didn’t miss the chance to experience the remembrance of Christ’s coming in one of the most profound ways.
– Gingerbread Nativity : (Pictured above) I came up with the idea to make a gingerbread nativity weeks ago. It came out of my wanting to think of a way to make Christmas morning Christ centered through some kind of activity that could extend to before, during and after we have children while still being special each and every passing year. The hope behind the gingerbread nativity was to allow us to spend time, first thing on Christmas morning, remembering together the birth of Christ. The gingerbread nativity pieces are to always be homemade and the décor (candy) of the nativity changed from year to year. This year was certainly my first time figuring out how to fit gingerbread pieces together to make a stable, but in all of its amateurish disarray I do believe it couldn’t be more perfect. My hope for the tradition of making a gingerbread nativity on Christmas morning is to combat the focus on gifts and instead turn the focus to a hands on activity that enables our minds to meditate on the correct purpose and meaning of Christmas!
– Christmas Eve Service : Justin and I were able to help out with our church’s very first Christmas Eve service! Justin ran sound and I ran powerpoint and we couldn’t have loved it more! We have been so enjoying getting more involved at our church through each passing week and are so grateful to be able to be a part of such a joyful, Christ centered community that accepts, teaches and encourages us!
– Family and Friend Gatherings : Whether it be downtown games and ½ off Applebee’s appetizers, gingerbread decorating and romantic comedies, our first Christmas party as a married couple, Christmas Eve waffles and birthday celebrations, Christmas Day dinner, games and desserts and so much more, this season has provided us with some beautiful memories and experiences with our friends and family! And though we have certainly missed our family far away we are so glad to know that they have also had wonderful holidays and we are looking forward to celebrating with them in years to come!
– Dates and Drinks : Justin and I were able to go on such a wonderful holiday date this Christmas! Due to funds and schedules we don’t get to go out on legitimate dates very often, but, thanks to my amazing boss, we were able to go out to a fancy dinner and then go see Saving Mr. Banks in theatres!! The food was brilliant and the movie an immediate favorite of Justin and I’s, we couldn’t have been more thrilled at the opportunity to be able to have such a special night and it is one that we will certainly treasure forever! Along with our night out we also have been able to have so many lovely nights in. Without the pressures of homework and jobs for a short time we have been able to sit up at night while we sip glasses of Trader Joe’s concord grape juice or sparkling pomegranate juice and talk together like we were able to when we were first dating. Knowing that no alarm must be set for the next morning or papers or reading to be completed at night has given evenings such a free and spontaneous character. Needless to say we have been enjoying them immensely!!
– Christmas Cards and Presents : I’ve said this before but I will say it again that each and every holiday card we have received this year has been SO special!! I am so thankful to those who took the time to send them to us, they have been very treasured! I also must say that each and every gift we received this year has been utterly brilliant! Whether it be a teeny tiny new game to play, a red plaid scarf, a movie night in a box, or a traditional family blanket we have been so very blessed by each gift!! As I knelt by the tree on Christmas morning to hand Justin each gift I couldn’t help but feel so many things at once, thankfulness, anticipation, excitement, nostalgia, and so much more. It was a very full experience for Justin and I as we gave and received our small collection of gifts and we couldn’t be more grateful!
I know there are so many things I have already forgotten, so many moments that passed by without notice, but in the end I know Justin and I can say that we have truly experienced our first Christmas season to its fullest. So many moments, so many memories, so much joy. It has been an exceedingly special time of year, 2013 couldn’t have come to a close at a more lovely occasion.