Lisa Tobias, GFC South Tampa

Christmas eve night.

Holly the Elf isn’t leaving her “farewell til next year” letter anymore.

My husband isn’t awkwardly climbing down the attic stairs with a bike or a dollhouse.

I’m not stressed about having to tiptoe around the house while carefully situating presents under the tree. 

And that plate of cookies for Santa hasn’t been used in a few years now.

As our daughters grow into their teen years some of our fun loving traditions that marked this joyous season have had to slowly fade away…just a natural part of kids growing up. Expected.

But, one change in a Christmas Eve tradition was completely unexpected.

A few years ago my husband shifted from being self employed and being able to control his own schedule, into a full time ministry position hired by GFC. He was catapulted into his new role that year at the beginning of the Christmas season, and I was plowing ahead with our typical Christmas Eve traditions.

For years we hosted family on Christmas Eve for our formal Christmas Eve dinner. The day was spent cooking, cleaning, and anticipating the arrival of family. With their arrival we would unpack their trunk of presents and gather around the dinner table to enjoy our feast on my fine china. After an early dinner we would all get dressed in our Christmas best and pack in the car to make it for the 6pm service at GFC, followed by family pictures under the huge tree in the lobby. Then, we would arrive home and get snuggled in our Christmas pj’s, crowd up on the couch to watch our favorite Christmas movie, and enjoy a smorgasbord of sweet treats. When the girls finally got to bed Bryan and I would retreat to our bedroom, Christmas music playing softly, and sip eggnog while we finished wrapping the remaining presents. Our goal was to be in bed by midnight.

 But, that year when Bryan started to work for our Lord, we didn’t see him much on Christmas Eve.

No family came to visit.

The girls and I ate alone. Leftovers. On paper plates. 

And he didn’t get home from work until after midnight.  

I admit that the first Christmas Eve was hard for us all, but my heart was especially saddened.

As a mother with an innate desire to maintain the idea of traditions I have sought hard to find new ones for Christmas Eve. 

Until God interrupted me. 

He gently told me to stop striving to find the perfect new tradition and find contentment instead by seeking Him more.

So as a family we’ve traded:

Fine china for fun paper plates

My laborious home cooked meal for Nana’s frozen lasagna

Our Christmas dresses for our volunteer shirts

And instead of anticipating the fun that occurs with the arrival of family, we anticipate the miracle that occurred with the arrival of Jesus!

Did your holidays look different this year? Or, maybe you’ve seen them start to slowly look a little different over the past few years? Embracing the NEW is a great gift. A brand new year is upon us, friends, and certainly a great time to lean expectantly into all that awaits and all that’s new!

Happy New Year!


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1 Comment

  1. This was so encouraging to read, friend. Finding contentment in Him! Embracing “the new.” I’m finding myself learning this in so many ways. Thank you for this powerful reminder and truth, Lisa!

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