In just a few hours, Eric and I will make our way across town to attend our friends’ ugly Christmas sweater party. After much searching (and finding nothing), I will be decorating a long sleeve t-shirt from Goodwill for my Christmas “sweater,” and I am still trying to talk Eric into decorating his beard with ornaments (I think I am fighting a losing battle on that one).
All this Christmas fanfare, family gatherings, trees decorated everywhere, and excited children have made me think about all the Christmases Eric and I have spent together. Counting our engagement, this is our eighteenth Christmas. For eighteen years, I have awoken on Christmas morning and seen his smiling face. As tempting as it is to take for granted, I know that I am truly blessed to spend my Christmases with someone I love who loves me. All too often we hear stories of miserable holidays which illuminate the heartache of miserable marriages. There is just something about Christmas and other festive seasons which shine a spotlight on otherwise concealed pain.
Whose Face Do You Want to See on Christmas Morning?
When I was younger, I was somewhat obsessed (as were my friends) with the question, “How do you know when you have found the one.” Back then we were so well versed in romantic comedies that we still thought there was one right person for everyone. Over the years, I heard a lot of answers to that question.
- You do not marry the one you can live with…you marry the one you cannot live without.
- Think about the next five years. If you are not married, are you still dating the same person?
- You know you have found the right person when you quit asking, “is this the right person?”
As long as there are people roaming the earth, there will be opinions. ~smile~ And, there is merit (differing levels, of course) in the advice l received over the years. So, I am going to add an additional thought into the “How do I know if I am with the right person?” mix.
Is this someone you want to wake up with on Christmas morning for the next twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years?
Christmas is a holiday which can erupt a lot of emotion in our hearts and nostalgia in our minds. We recall the magic of the season and want to carry that into our future family, or we remember a lot of heartache we want to avoid carrying into our future family. Who we marry is the one with whom we will enjoy (or not so much enjoy) all of our holiday festivities. With that in mind, think about who you are dating and then think about Christmas shopping. Christmas Eve. Christmas decorating. Christmas morning. Christmas caroling. Christmas baking. Christmas church services. Christmas family celebrations.
Is this someone with whom I want to enjoy my family’s traditions and with whom I can create new traditions?
Is this someone with whom I can imagine shopping for our children’s Christmas gifts?
Can I picture putting together a Barbie House and sneaking presents around the tree in the wee hours of Christmas morning with this person?
Do I experience joy or peace at the thought of sitting beside this person at a lifetime of Christmas Eve worship services?
Is this someone I trust to take my needs into account when dividing up Christmas time between our families? (And, can he or she trust me as well?)
From what I have seen, will this person add pleasure or drama to future family Christmases?
Is this someone I can picture leading us in family worship on Christmas morning before we open our gifts and teaching our children about Jesus (the true reason for the season)?
Is this a face I want to wake up to when the sun peeks through the windows on Christmas morning?
Is it difficult to imagine my life – my Christmases, my Sunday mornings, my exhausted Friday nights – without this person?
All I Want for Christmas is… Freedom from this Nagging Question…
In my senior year of college, I struggled constantly with deciding where to go for graduate school. Do I stay at my current university and get my master’s degree in counseling, or do I consider another school and a different career path?
At the time I was dating someone, and I thought, “If I leave this school, I may never see him again. Our relationship will be over.” And, in that moment I realized… I did not care. If there is ever a clear sign that you should not be dating someone, it is when you feel no sadness at the prospect of leaving him or her for good. Immediately after coming to that realization, I thought, “But, if I leave, I may never see Eric again…,” and my heart seized. The thought of leaving my friend (as, Eric and I weren’t dating at that time) broke my heart. It occurred to me that wherever life took me, I wanted him there with me.
I wanted him to be my Christmas morning buddy.
There can be freedom from that overwhelming, consuming question, “How do you know when you have found the one?” It comes first in realizing there is not a meant-to-be, perfect person for everyone; there are only better matches and worse matches to be had. It comes in trusting the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your steps (cf. Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 119:105). It comes in gathering information about each other and taking note of different experiences. And finally, it comes in looking into the future and imagining it with that person.
What do you see? What can you imagine? Are you excited at the prospect of fifty or more Christmases with this person? Do you feel joy at the thought of raising children with him or her? Gathering around the Christmas tree with grandchildren?
Are You Dating Your Christmas Morning Person?
Maybe you are in a new relationship and just starting to learn about each other. You probably will not know the answer to this question right away; but, as your relationship takes root and blossoms, ask yourself, “Can I imagine the rest of my Christmases with him or her?”
Maybe you have been dating (or just hanging out with) someone for years, but cannot seem to take that next step. Ask yourself the Christmas question. Ask yourself other questions as well. If you cannot see yourself with this person for all of life’s little moments, try to uncover why you feel this way. Ask the Lord to reveal the truth to you.
Maybe you are holding back from initiating a relationship – or even proposing (or accepting) – but you are not sure what is keeping you from it. If you want to be with this person on Christmas morning for as long as God allows, perhaps it is time to take the next step. What is stopping you (or should it be stopping you)?
Merry Christmas to All!!!
It is hard to imagine that we are about to close out yet another year. After 2020 and its worldwide impacting shenanigans, 2021 flew by so quickly! We hope your holiday season is blessed with precious memories. We wish you freedom, joy, and a Merry Christmas!!!
Do you want to see your boyfriend or girlfriend’s face for the next fifty Christmases?