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On Christmas Day DEC 2019 Remembering the Blessing of Family The first Christmas that my wife and I were married, I made the mistake of picking out a Christmas tree without her. For her, getting to pick out the Christmas tree was a huge part of her family’s tradition. When I brought the tree home, she was not happy that I hadn’t let her be a part of the tree shopping experience, and she also told me that the one I had picked out looked like the tree from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” No one had ever told me that when you get married and set out to create a family with someone, your holiday traditions will clash. Some will be similar, but others will differ vastly. I think one of the ways our families are a blessing is how they smooth our rough edges and make us better, more considerate people.
My wife and I raised six kids. That made for a lot of fun, crazy, chaotic Christmases while they were all growing up. We had all sorts of fun traditions, like playing board games such as Catan, baking a cake, and singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and even as adults, my kids still insist that we hang stockings for them at our house for when they visit. There are three grandkids at our Christmas gatherings now. Two of them are 3 years old, one is a newborn, and a fourth grandchild is due in March. After all those Christmases watching my kids grow up, it’s fun having little kids back around the house. We gather at our house to open gifts, enjoy my wife’s cooking, and just spend time together. When I try to picture snapshots in my mind of Christmases past to try and pick out the memories that are truly special, I find that I can’t pick out anything in particular. All I can think of is the wonderful feeling of being with the people that I love and celebrating the ways that we bless each other’s lives.
“I think one of the ways our families are a blessing is how they smooth our rough edges and make us better, more considerate people.”
I don’t know how people think they can make it through life without some sort of family. I really don’t. I can remember when I went through college and law school, a seven year journey to become an attorney, and my grandparents opened their checkbook just when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to pay for another semester. My grandma also loaned my wife and me money to fix our broken furnace, which had gone out right after we had our first child. But beyond just opening their wallets, my family has been there for me in the good times and the tough times. I realize that I’m extremely blessed to be a part of the family I have. Not everyone has those connections with their relatives. But I think that all of us have people we’re close with, whether through our churches, workplaces, or community organizations, and we can call them our family, whether we’re actually related or not.
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