This is the ninth year that Kyle and I have celebrated Christmas as a couple. And as a couple we now answer to many family members, especially at Christmas time. For years we celebrated, and I mean the whole deal..presents, family, food, Christmas five times over a few days. Today we celebrate Christmas 4 1/2 times, we have only cut out one of those celebrations and we still do visit that family, it's just not on the official celebration day.
Whenever the topic of Christmas plans would come up and people would find out that we would be traveling to visit all of our families and celebrate Christmas five times, they would look at us like we were perhaps a little nutty or at least push overs. They would always say to us, well when you have kids you'll have to change that and do what's best for your family.
During the crazy busy moments, when we're shopping for a large number of people, wrapping, cooking, and packing to go, I sometimes agree, but those moments are brief and passing. The thing is Kyle and I really enjoy our family, even if it means celebrating Christmas five times.
As I sat on Christmas Eve trying to finish up my wrapping, a woman called into the local Christian radio station for prayer. She asked that we pray for her because this year she and her husband could not afford to travel to visit family. God whispered in my ear in that moment, what a privilege and blessing it was that I not only had so much family that I loved, but I could afford to drive to visit them all.
There are some stresses that come from the travel and the visits, but mostly it is a gift. One that I realize will not always be, one that many, many people long for each year, a room full of people who love you to laugh with and celebrate the birth of our Savior.
It is also a gift to have 360 days before we have to do it again!