Vermont has always been my second favorite state. One of my earliest memories is standing on my Grammie and Bumpa's front porch before I was two years old, knocking on the door, and OH! the sheer joy when she opened the door and found me there: a surprise visit from her son and his family, baby granddaughter included.
A couple of summers ago, I took Matt up to Vermont. He had to experience the Cabot cheese factory, the home of Ben and Jerry's, and see the place that used to be my Grandparent's Country Store. That trip was something I needed. I needed to see the spots in Vermont I knew so well and admit to myself that things were different; life has changed.
The trip this winter was not about places, it was about people. We didn't go to see Vermont, we went to see family. We stayed with my cousin and her family and saw my Grammie, my Aunt, and another cousin and her handsome boy. My cousin's children loved Charlotte so hard, crawling around on the floor with her and calling in sing-song, sweet voices, "Baby Charrrlotte."
We had long talks about marriage and parenting, including referencing this article about the three different types of men (an excerpt from a book that helped me tremendously at the beginning of our marriage) and recommending this Preacher for sermons on parenting and just generally because we love him.
Matt and my cousin's husband Arthur spent time out in the freezing cold sledding down their long and steep driveway. Charlotte and I got all bundled up and spent a little bit of time touching the snow and watching the Winter Wonderland. It was all a little magical.
We stopped to see Matt's siblings in Philadelphia on the way up and the way back. I loved seeing Charlotte warm up to them. We ate beautiful food, shopped second hand, and had long living room talks over hot tea. I'm thankful for family.
God makes the most beautiful things: that baby and that husband, God made them. God made that full, beautiful Christmas tree. God made the snow and the trees and the fire. He has given us the most beautiful gifts. It's almost Christmas. It's almost that day where we all throw paper and bows in the air and shake boxes and eat a feast.
God the Son, Jesus Christ, was born because God the Father loves us. He wants us to have the BEST GIFTS.
He gave us a beautiful world. We rejected Him. We rejected His unconditional love, but God didn't stop loving us. He didn't give up on us. He sent. He gave. He GAVE us a way to be with Him forever. He says, "I love you. I want you to be with me. Here. Here is a way. Just trust my Son."