Five years ago my husband and I were married on November 12th. We were the PERFECT couple! One of those couples that never disagreed, never fought, were always lovey dovey! Until Christmas Eve that is. That ALL changed! It was the worst Christmas EVER. You need a little background here to help you understand why it was so horrible. Sam and I were raised in different families. DUH! But really, when it came to Christmas and gift-giving, our families were NIGHT and DAY!
For Christmas every year, Sam would make a Christmas list and give it to his parents. (Yes, he was still doing it when I married him.) So CHRISTMAS EVE he would open presents with his family and basically know EVERY single gift he received because he had asked for them. Disappointment was felt if certain things were received instead of other things but he was still basically happy because it was all things he wanted.
I, on the other hand, would never DREAM of making a Christmas list for my parents because we were raised that if you ask for it, you WON'T get it!!! So a Christmas list would be for the sole purpose of nixing everything on the list. EVERYTHING I opened on CHRISTMAS MORNING was a complete SURPRISE! I had no idea what I was going to get - unless I happened to peek under my parents bed - but that's another story!
Our first Christmas as husband and wife was set up for complete disaster but we had NO CLUE it was coming.
Sooo imagine my surprise when my husband kept nagging me with questions of what I wanted for Christmas. So I would tell him basic ideas like a necklace or a new decoration for our new apartment. NO SPECIFICS! Poor Sam was desperate to find out what I wanted for Christmas so he took me shopping. The guy was really good. He took note of EVERY SINGLE THING that I noticed or said that I liked. He made me try on a coat and would make comments like: "so you would wear this size then?" Needless to say, I thought he was simply trying to get an idea of what I would want for Christmas - surely he wasn't going to buy EVERYTHING I said I liked, he was just figuring me out for a future grand SURPRISE present. I was WRONG!
On my part, I was pretty frustrated at how obvious Sam was being about telling me what he wanted for Christmas. I would have it all figured out and then he would TELL me he wanted it! There went that idea! I didn't want him to KNOW what he was getting from me. So I had to be pretty creative with my gifts and avoid EVERYTHING he informed me about wanting for Christmas. I accomplished it! He had NO CLUE what he was getting for Christmas!
We were both extremely excited about our first Christmas together and had all of these romantic visions of what it would be like. We were WRONG!
We opened our gifts together and BOOM!!! It was a disaster! All of my gifts were the EXACT same things I had basically picked out for myself and there were NO surprises. For Sam, as he opened present after present, he got more and more and more disappointed because they were not what he was expecting!
The rest of the night was not the beautiful first Christmas together we had dreamed about. It was a mess!
Now obviously, we worked it all out (we are still happily married after all!) and we both truly enjoyed the gifts we received from each other that Christmas. Several of the gifts are still around and they have fond memories attached to them! Now we laugh about our first Christmas and we have learned how to combine our two family traditions into something that works for both of us. We have learned that Christmas is not about the presents but about the heart and the love behind the person GIVING the gift and not at all about the gift itself.
God's Christmas gift to the world is still not accepted with appropriate thanks from everyone. But the love behind the gift, God's LOVE for us is still just as constant and sure as it always has been. Are you one of those who have received God's gift? Have you believed that God sent His Son, Jesus into the world as a baby to one day grow up and pay the price for the sins of you and me by dying a cruel death on the cross? He was the only perfect One who could do that for us! But after dying, He did not stay dead, He miraculously came back to life and is now making a place for those who believe in heaven with Him. If you only believe in what He has done for you, you will be a recipient of the greatest Christmas gift of all time, eternal life.
May your Christmas have wonderful memories that will be passed on from year to year!