We decorated for Christmas last week. Have I mentioned yet that I love Christmas? Well in case you missed it the first time, I love Christmas. By July I'm making a list of everyone I need to buy for, setting a budget, and planning out which goodies we're going to bake. In late September, as the weather starts to get chilly and fall rolls in, I start itching to get my Christmas bins (all twelve of them, heh heh heh) out of storage and start rummaging through them. I manage to hold off, though, because I like to stop and enjoy each holiday as it comes. I'm not the one who start decorating for Christmas the day before Halloween, but once Thanksgiving comes and goes, it's on.
Like many others, I feel that Christmas has been over-commercialized, over-sold, and the hype around material goods can easily take away from it's magic - but only if you let it. My reasons for loving Christmas don't come from any of those things. I don't go crazy with excitement over receiving and opening presents (although I do love giving them and watching others open). Christmas to me is about Christ, His love, our love for one another - and sharing and celebrating that.
Christmas-time is very sentimental to me in other ways, too. Dusty and I fell in love over Christmas. During this season of spirit, generosity, and giving, I got one of the greatest gifts - someone who not only loves me so very deeply, but also walks by faith in Christ.
Dusty and I met in October of 2007, at a Halloween party. We had great conversation and lots of laughs, and for the next few weeks we talked on the phone for hours every night. I kept wondering if this guy was ever going to ask me out on a date! So, finally after about three weeks of waiting, I asked him out. Of course he said yes (he was just too shy to ask), but he wanted to plan (and surprise me) with the details of what we would be doing.
By the end of that (amazing) first date, it was like my soul was overcome with a peaceful feeling. Looking back now, I realize that I already knew that this man was going to take me somewhere beautiful in my life. I knew I never wanted to be without him, and from that moment on we were completely inseparable.
By the time early December rolled around, we were crazy about each other. We would sit and talk for hours, laugh, and just be silly. This gave us an amazing foundation of friendship that is incomparable to any other relationship I've ever experienced. It wasn't about a physical attraction (although it was definitely there!) - we talked about the deep stuff. We had both been through a lot of hardships and pain in the recent years, which gave us a deep understanding of each other and only strengthened our bond. I found out that Dusty had nearly stopped celebrating Christmas all together. He hadn't even put up a tree the past few years because he was in such a dark place. It made me incredibly sad that this wonderful man, who had so much life and kindness in his heart, had nearly stopped believing in the magic of Christmas altogether.
Then one evening, as I showed up at his door, he announced with the biggest smile I've ever seen that he had a surprise for me. I didn't know my way around his neck of the woods, so I had no clue where we were going or what we could possibly be doing. After what seemed like forever, we pulled off the road and into a parking lot. I looked at him with curiosity as he pointed behind us. I hadn't been paying attention as we'd passed it, but it was right then that I realized there was a huge billboard that read "Kiser's Christmas Trees". And there they were - there were hundreds of them.
I could hardly contain my excitement as we walked hand in hand looking for the perfect tree. We found one, loaded it up and headed back to his house to set it up. It was short, stout, and extremely cock-eyed, but it was ours, and it was perfect. We strung the one strand of lights we had, but we didn't have any ornaments. I took the Christmas tree tag, wrote our names and the year, and hung it by it's twist tie onto our tree. It was our only ornament, but I remember so vividly as we stood together and looked at our tree exactly how full my heart was that night. We sat by the tree, a fire in the fireplace, just talking. He kissed my forehead, and all at once I knew what this meant to him - it meant Christmas was worth celebrating again. I also knew what it meant for me - I was in love with this amazing man.
To this day, we still have that tree tag, and it is proudly displayed on our tree every single year. This is why I look forward to Christmas. Christ's love is amazing. It brought me a beautiful daughter, and then to the man who is my forever and is the best Daddy to our daughter.
Decorating the tree has become such a wonderful way to not only celebrate Christ's love for us, but also our love as husband and wife and our love as a family.
Here's a picture of our family tree, compete with Kenzie's many hand made ornaments, both mine and Mackenzie's "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments, and yes, that beloved tree tag.
|Mine - 1984 Kenzie - 2002|
I hope this Christmas fills you with the spirit of the season this year just as it has me. Merry Christmas.