My parents celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on Friday. They were married on Christmas Eve and celebrated Christmas with their families the next morning before leaving for their honeymoon.
Getting married on Christmas Eve makes it easy to remember the date, but it makes a romantic celebration nearly impossible. The last time I remember my parents going out to dinner on their anniversary is the year I was eleven. They were home early and declared they would never attempt it again. Few restaurants are open on Christmas Eve, and even fewer have employees who are happy about having to work that night.
My parents had nine children born over a 21-year period. Consequently, their Christmas Eve activities for the first thirty years or so typically involved wrapping Christmas presents, assembling bikes and other toys, and baking pies for Christmas dinner. Their anniversary was almost an afterthought in all the chaos of Christmas, but they always took a few moments to exchange gifts and express their love for each other.
Christmas Eves are a bit calmer for them these days. More restaurants are open, but they still don’t go out on their anniversary. They prefer instead to have a quiet celebration surrounded by their children and grandchildren. They celebrated their anniversary this year with four of their children and three of their grandchildren present. My sister and I brought the food, so Mom was spared the chore of cooking dinner on their anniversary.
I am grateful that my parents’ marriage has withstood the many challenges life has brought their way, including the death of one child and my father’s 26-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. I am thankful that my parents are both active and healthy and can look forward to many more anniversaries. But most of all, I am eternally grateful that many years ago my parent’s committed their lives to Jesus Christ and made Him the center of their marriage.