Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reflections on: Christmas vacation

This trip home has been different than those of the past. Maybe it has something to do with the 3 kids, or maybe its that I'm getting older. I bet its a combination of these two, plus many other factors. This year has been the first time in 7 years that we've been with our extended families on Christmas. Our first Christmas as a married couple we were in GA and did not go home due to my church responsibilities. That year, we traveled home for Christmas in January. We kept that tradition up for the next six years (and depending on where I end up in ministry we will probably do it again in the future).

But this year, we were able to travel to see family on Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, at my grandpa's. This has been the celebration day for my family for as long as I remember. It was so great to be there with a lot of my family. Then on Christmas, we drove up to be with Amy's family for Christmas night. It was the first time I remember driving on Christmas day, a lot more people than I thought there would be. Another fun night with family.

Here are some of my reflections on this Christmas trip:

1. Family & friends mean more than gifts. Gifts are great, but I would much rather spend time with people I love and not get a gift from them. The gifts stop working or you lose interest, but the people need to be cherished.

2. Travel with 3 kids is exponentially different than 2 kids. It can be stressful to travel with 2 kids, but adding the 3rd changes everything. It becomes so much more difficult to get everyone to travel in the same sequence, so to speak. Trips that should take 4 hours, can take at least 5 hours. Make sure to enjoy ever moment, though.

3. Always leave room in your vehicle for the return trip. On a Christmas trip, with little kids, you will most likely return home with more stuff than you left with.

4. Busy schedule -> stress -> miscommunication. Vacations can bring out the worst opportunities to stay connected to your spouse. If you do not take the time to talk with your spouse, then you won't be given that time.

5. Talking with your family is extra important on vacations. See #4. When you are with your family (the extended kind) do not just sit around and watch TV. Take the time to talk about topics that are important, talk about faith, talk about your family history, talk about parenting. You do not get these opportunities very often, so take advantage of them.

6. A lot can happen in a year. Since last Christmas a lot has happened in my life, and being home reminded me of just how much. Last year on Dec. 28th, my grandma passed away. In April, I started looking for a new ministry. In May, I stopped ministering at my church. In July, my first daughter (third child) was born. In September, she had hernia surgery. In October I turned 30. Over the last 7 months, I have been constantly amazed at how God provides for and takes care of my family. I can't wait to see what next year holds.

7. All good vacations come to an end. No matter how good a vacation you have, it has to end. You have to return to your daily routine. You have to get back to work. Hopefully, for those working in churches, this is not a bad thing. If you are passionate about what you do for a living, then you will be just as excited to return to that work.

bonus: some guy at church had a dog with him. It was weird to see him walk out with his dog in his arms. On the bright side, the dog never made a sound during the entire service.

What was your favorite moment from your Christmas vacation?

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