Christmas is a’comin! And I am SO ready! If all goes according to God’s plan, John and I will be sharing just this one Christmas as an engaged couple, and then the rest as husband and wife. Pinching myself right about now! As I reflect back on the holiday season last year, John and I were preparing for our 3 week backpacking trip that led us to Israel and getting engaged. One of the most magical moments from our trip was being in Bethlehem on the Greek Orthodox Christmas in January and stumbling into the Church of the Nativity where baby Jesus was born, the home of the manger. We happened to get ‘stuck’ inside the church while the Christmas procession carried on, with hundreds of people marching through singing ‘Angels We Have Heard on High,’ but I was not mad about it! It was incredibly breathtaking.
As I read the Shepherd’s Story this year (as I try to every year), having seen the ACTUAL birthplace of our Savior, my heart just melts thinking about that exact spot 2000ish years ago. My favorite verse from the story is Luke 2: 11.
‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
BOOM. Mic Drop.
Without Jesus’ birth, he couldn’t have died on the cross and forgiven ALL our sins and consequently, we would be separated from God for all eternity. Nope nope nope! I want to be in Jesus’ presence forever and ever AMEN. This Christmas miracle is all I could ever ask for. The rest of the gifts are just additional blessings!
Read the full Shepherd’s Story HERE.
Starting Christmas traditions as a couple that blends life-long traditions of two separate families has been the best experience I could ever dream of. This year, both of our families will be gathering around the table for Christmas Eve dinner at the Downing residence in Costa Mesa. The Downing gift exchange will follow as the night is settling down. Their tradition is to open ALL gifts on Christmas Eve, which I love. On Christmas morning, we will go bath to John’s parents for stockings and croissants and then drive to Mission Viejo to spend the rest of the day with my family of 4. Our tradition is to do stockings, a light lunch, then the remaining gifts. We usually play games and hang out until our homemade Christmas dinner is ready!
Over the past few years, we have attended a Church service on one of the two days, but we are always changing service times to see what fits best with our schedule! We used to attend the candlelight service at 11pm on Christmas Eve, but last year we went to the earliest service on Christmas morning. Because Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, and I am not working during the day (praise the Lord), we will probably attend the 11am service before all our festivities begin! Growing up, we attended church almost every Sunday, but never on Christmas. I love that we have created a new tradition in the last few years!
And as for the question that’s been in the back of my mind for the last few weeks… What am I going to wear on Christmas?! I used to get really dressed up and wear a fancy dress, but going on my 8th year in retail during the holidays, all I want to do is RELAX and wear a cozy sweater. While I was at work, I heard the magical news that J Crew was being price matched at Nordstrom for 40% off. I immediately tried on about 67 items (okay like 5), and bought 3 at the amazing discount including this Kelley-green turtleneck sweater! It’s so soft, I wish you could feel it through the computer screen! You will just have to trust me on that I guess! I am going to wear it on Christmas with blue denim skinnies and my cheetah print booties. My booties are from Target 2 years ago, but I’ve linked the 2017 Target and J Crew versions below! To complete my look, I accessorized with my ‘pom pom’ earrings that John’s mom brought home as a gift from their trip to Japan along with my Gorjana necklace from my October Rocksbox collection!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!