Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

Two years ago, I attended my first Christmas Eve service with Ty at our church. It was the first step in merging our Christmas traditions into one, and I'll admit that I was slightly apprehensive. Christmas Eve has always been a time I gathered with my family at Nana and Mick's house. Before I can even remember, this is what I always did on Christmas Eve. See example below:

Attending the Christmas Eve service would mean that Ty and I would be late for the festivities at Nana and Mick's. But I knew that sharing the holidays with Ty also meant compromising on my traditions, and I was willing to do that.

I wish I could say that it was an easy compromise for me to make, but during that first Christmas Eve service, I must have asked Ty for the time nearly every 10 minutes. I was impatient. I felt like I was missing something.

As the service started to wind down, I grew excited that we would soon be with my family and enjoying my longstanding Christmas traditions. But then the lights in the sanctuary were turned off, the glow of candlelight spread through the room, hundreds of voices began to sing "Silent Night," and a lump the size of a ham hock swelled in my throat.

This is not our sanctuary, but it's similar, and in the glow of candlelight, it looks something like this:

It was simply magical to feel God's presence coat the room. And then you wonder, what could I ever have done to be worthy of this? And then your heart is silent and grateful and there's no other place you would rather be.

Of all the things I love about Christmas, this hour is the time I love most. It stills my mind from all the worries of Christmas shopping and gift exchanges, and it prepares my heart for the days ahead. I'm especially grateful for the blessings Ty and I have experienced this year, from our marriage to our new home together. I look forward to taking communion next to him, as our own little family, and celebrating what a wonderful year we've shared together.

There's nothing we could ever do to be worthy of this, but perhaps that's what makes it so magical.