When it comes to Christmas, my husband (Thom) and I have never quite seen eye to eye.
The holiday season has always been a very special time for me. Growing up, my family always made the most of traditions such as decorating the Christmas tree, colorful lighting on the windows of our house, listening to and singing carols.
There was cookie baking, parties, and general merry making of one kind or another from Thanksgiving to New Year.
My husband, on the other hand, was the only child in a family which didn’t make as big a deal about Christmas. So over the years, Thom has adopted a view of the holiday’s which is more akin to what might be considered “Scrooge-like” (especially when it comes to the over-the-top consumerism — which honestly, I agree with him on).
As I said, though, Christmas has always been special to me. I love the holiday season.
Thom and I had a Christmas wedding (our anniversary is December 17th) with the church festooned in evergreen and poinsettia plants. The Christmas tree goes up in our living room right after Thanksgiving. My home is decorated with lights, nutcrackers, and snowflakes. Christmas cookies are baked not only for our enjoyment but given to others (which is one holiday tradition Thom introduced into our family and does enjoy).
Two nativity scenes are on display. Music heralding the birth of Jesus such as Joy to the World, What Child is This, and O Come O Come Emmanuel are played or sung throughout the month of December. Holiday specials, movies, and yes even classic cartoons are watched. My devotions become focused on the birth of Jesus and what it means.
Such traditions have never held much sentiment for my husband, but this has never prevented him from helping me with the Christmas tree or lights, driving through neighborhoods so our daughters and I can view Christmas decorations, taking me to Christmas programs at church, or watching sappy holiday films.
Why? Because my husband understands what it means to love. Putting the desires of his wife and kids ahead of his own (even as he says he just doesn’t care about the fuss of the holidays) simply because he knows it will make us smile.
And in doing so, Thom probably does more to illustrate the true meaning of the holiday season than any traditions or trappings can ever convey. In fact, I should learn a thing or two from my husband about what it means to compromise and putting the interests of others (like my husband) before my own. He is truly an example of what it means to give of oneself, not only during Christmas, but the rest of the year as well.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 ESV