Wednesday, December 29, 2010

True Christmas Spirit

One of the things I love best about Germany is Christmas time. Germans know how to do Christmas. It's cold and snowy and they have the most enchanting Christmas Markets with roasted chestnuts, yummy hot crepes and Gl├╝hwein, which is basically magic in a cute Christmas mug (aka hot mulled wine). 

I hope that everyone, at some point in their lives gets to experience the magic of Christmas in Germany.  Here's a shot from our little market in Karlsruhe.

As much as I love the feeling of Christmas here, there is nothing that says Christmas more than being home with family for the Holidays. This year was the first year that I wasn't with my family on Christmas. *Tear* However, it was the first year for me to spend it with my new family. And on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico for that matter!

I have to admit that, initially, I struggled with the idea of not getting to participate in the wonderful Christmas traditions my family holds so dear.  It was tough sitting in church on Christmas Eve knowing that my family was doing the very same things, in my home church, in my home town, without me.

At the moment that I began to feel the tears burn in my eyes, I suddenly became overwhelmed with this truth: Christmas is about Christ. It isn't about who we spend the day with. It isn't about family or the traditions we uphold year after year and pass down from generation to generation.  It's about Christ.  Plain and simple.  

My family always made Christmas a celebration of our Savior.  However, never before did I have so deep an understanding of what Christ did for us on Christmas until that moment at the Christmas Eve service in a small military chapel, in Puerto Rico, far, far away from my family.         

Sometimes the Lord has to remove things from our lives in order to open our eyes to His truth.  This year, the Lord chose to remove all of the things that I have come to define as Christmas, and, as difficult as it was, it was the absence of my constructed ideas of what makes Christmas that enabled Him to give me a true understanding of the greatest Christmas gift ever, His Son.

The Christmas memories that I have shared with my family for so many years are always in my heart, and they always will be. As I grow up and life changes, I have come to cherish such moments even more because I realize just how truly special they are. I am learning to create and embrace new traditions that form from the joining of two families. But above all else, I am developing a deeper understanding of what this Holiday truly is about: the birth of our Savior, and for that, I am most grateful.


Hockey Wife said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful post Cara! Learning to create and embrace new traditions can be challenging but, as you have found, equally rewarding. P.S. I hear gluhwein helps with just about anything! ;)

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