Our family tree is up as well, and the ornaments full of memories are hanging from the branches. However, if you see our tree you will notice a slightly different aspect. Our tree is also filling up with letters wrapped in bows. As my husband and I do not exchange gifts of a traditional sense. Instead, we write a letter to one another about our year together.
You can see the different seasons of our life in the paper and bows. The letters started out on lined notebook paper, then typing paper, moved to construction paper, and in the past few years we have graduated to "fancy" paper. The letters even tell a story without reading them. For instance, the "year of the scissors." One set of letters is cut up because that was the year Lilyan decided scissors were "too cool." She cut the blinds, curtains, sheets, her hair (into a mullet), and anything else she could find.
The letters are a reflection of the year and the wonderful things and heartaches we have experienced as a couple and family. We wrap them in a pretty bow and on Christmas morning they are placed on the tree.
After our three children open the three gifts they receive (just as Christ was given), we exchange our letters. We cuddle up on the couch and read the loving words that were carefully written on the page. Words, which bring laughter, tears, and a realization that this is the greatest gift we could ever offer one another. These handwritten notes were a true reflection of what love really means and what matters most in life. Just as 1 Corinthians states, "these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
These handwritten letters have become a tradition, which marks a special place in our hearts. These letters are prized possessions that can be seen as part of our Christmas tree decorations. They are lovingly placed on the tree with the kids' ornaments for the year. Then when the kids leave home and take their ornaments with them, the tree will not be bare. Instead, it will be a tree full of love letters. Letters that are filled with a lifetime of words and dreams shared between a husband and wife.A tree full of faith, hope and love.
May you all find the faith to believe in something greater than yourselves, hope to look forward to a new year, and the love of your best friend to stand by your side for the rest of your life. Merry Christmas.