Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wedding Vows at Christmas

December 18, 1971
December 18th.  My wedding anniversary. Forty-eight years ago on a Saturday evening one week away from Christmas, Tom and I committed our hearts to each other. 

We were kids really. I was eighteen and he was nineteen. But our parents approved. We were supported by family and friends, as we stood at the front of Lutz Baptist Church in Florida and spoke our vows.

We took those vows seriously. We repeated them to each other every year on our anniversary. We would light our anniversary candle (You can read The Candle story by clicking here) and in the quiet of the evening, we would say our vows again. It wasn’t a ritual. It was a sweet and tender celebration between the two of us.

Every year, since Tom died in 2014, I’ve hosted a caroling party at my house on my anniversary. My family and close friends come and we sing. We talk, share memories, and laugh. We eat Christmas cookies and treats; we visit. And we sing. I often share a story or memory or meditation. And we sing. We sing a few songs in my living room before heading out to carol the neighbors. It’s a celebration. One I know Tom would have loved.

I have this party every year. It is my way of recognizing my anniversary. 

The year I lived in Kosovo, I hosted the caroling party there as well. It is that important to me. (You can read about A Palm Tree Kind of Christmas by clicking here…and no, the weather in Kosovo is not palm tree kind of weather!)

Eventually, everyone leaves and the quiet of the evening settles over me. I don’t light the candle anymore, but in the darkness I whisper my part of the vows:

I take thee, Tom to be my wedded husband.
To have and to hold from this day forward;
For better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health; 
To love, honor, and obey as long as we both shall live; 
According to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto, I pledge thee my love.

Yes, I know that chapter of my life is over. But like any good book, it is worth revisiting again. So I do. Every year, I host a caroling party and celebrate the joy I had in being Tom’s wife.

As I’ve had a few people ask about year end gifting to the scholarship fund for Tom, here are the links. The first is for online giving. The second is for those of you who prefer to mail in your gift. Thank you so much for helping make this a reality.

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