Tuesday, January 8, 2013

every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday of the year.  And after Steve and I got hitched, one of the things I most looked forward to this year was spending the holidays as that newlywed couple.  You know, getting pulled this way and that, trying to juggle two families, celebrating two Christmases, embracing two sets of Christmas traditions.  Steve couldn't wait for his staple - watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve by the fireplace.  I was excited beyond belief for mine - eating Gannie's Christmas cookies and Christmas bread I mean, Christmas Eve candlelight service with the family.  We both looked forward to sharing other traditions with each other - reading the Christmas story in Luke, singing Christmas carols, Christmas stockings, a big family breakfast, opening presents with the family, watching every claymation Christmas movie known to mankind (maybe that's just me), Elf, A Christmas Story, ping-pong tournament, admiring the Christmas tree... you name it, we couldn't wait to do it.  I knew that despite whatever life was throwing at us at the time, Christmas itself was going to be picture-perfect.  Something kind of like this:

Boy was I wrong. 

For starters, we awoke on Christmas Eve morning to discover that our Christmas tree had committed suicide overnight and was lying in the middle of the living room.  Pine needles were everywhere (yes, I gave in and let Steve get a live tree this year; no, we will never be getting a live tree again).  After several valliant efforts by Steve and a friend, the tree was back up and running and the floor was rid of pine needles.  No less than 10 minutes later, the tree collapsed AGAIN.  At that point we had two options - either a) start crying hysterically about how our Christmas was cursed since our tree committed suicide not once but twice within 20 minutes, or b) get it out of there.  We chose option (b).  So yes - hi we are the Simcox newlyweds and we spent our first Christmas without an actual Christmas tree. 

Now the tree was only the beginning of things going...differently than expected.  Not seeing my family after all on Christmas.  Christmas Eve service running so late that we had to leave early (aka before the Silent Night/candlelighting part - everyone's favorite!) to meet Steve's family for dinner.  Blizzard 2012 changing Simcox family plans so everyone left town at 9am on Christmas Day except for Steve and me.  Opening presents by ourselves.  Attempting (and failing miserably) to recreate my grandma's Christmas dinner - soggy stuffing and runny sweet potatoes, no thank you.  Essentially spending Christmas day alone.

But God taught me a lot on that Christmas Day and helped me to see it for what it truly was.  Just like how Clarence shows George in It's a Wonderful Life how truly precious and priceless his life really is.  If nothing else, our first Christmas together was real.  We may not have had the picturesque scene above, but here is what we did have:

Time.  No distractions.  Relaxation.  Tears.  Heartache.  Repentence.  Forgiveness.  Understanding.  No pretending, no hiding, no shame.  Embracing brokenness.  Celebrating God's faithfulness.  Appreciating the little things.  Enjoying each other's company.  Serving each other.  Learning how to love.  A fresh start. 

I can't imagine a better way to spend our first Christmas together. 

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