I love Christmas…celebrating Christ’s birth, family gatherings, parties, the music, the food…everything. It thrills my soul! Every year, when I open the Christmas boxes, I am filled with memories and think about the special people and events attached to each ornament and decoration. And for as long as I remember – the kids would be so excited when I unpacked the special stocking that always hung in our kitchen. It was special because of the countdown calendar on the outside of it. Each morning one of the kids got to mark off one more day closer to Christmas. The child that most enjoyed this ritual, was my youngest, our daughter, Caroline. She is now 17 and is the last of my children still at home.
     This year, there were no children with me when I opened the Christmas boxes. We’re all busy with various schedules, and no one was around to hang the calendar stocking in the kitchen. So I did…just like I did last year too. And no child was there every morning to mark one day closer to Christmas so I did…again…just like last year. And after Christmas was over and all the decorations, as well as the calendar stocking was packed away, I came to the realization that it was time to let go and say goodbye to this family ritual. Seems simple and somewhat silly, but I cried. I cried because it means that my season of parenting is coming to an end.
     I have to choose to embrace this next season in my life, but I am filled with mixed feelings. Saying good-bye to family rituals that are no longer relevant in your family’s life is natural and inevitable, but for me, it is difficult and sad. BUT…and thank God with Jesus there is always a BUT…I know that He was faithful to me as a young mother and I know He will be faithful to me during the next transition in my life.
     I would love to hear your experiences with letting go and saying good-bye to family rituals.


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Julia Mateer

Laughing hard with friends, strong black tea, quiet moments with her husband, are some of Julia's favorite things. One of her greatest joys is having authentic conversations with women about relationships, parenting, and leadership.

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