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‘Twas the Dance Before Christmas…

For close to 20 years, my family’s tradition was to travel somewhere new and exciting/exotic for Christmas. For me, this traveling began with a hop over to Australia with a spectacular stop in Hawaii when I was just five years old (crikey!). Despite the fact this specific trip was taken during the waning weeks of summer, this type of traveling was the template for all future Christmas adventures. Spinning a globe and stopping it with a finger to reveal our next destination was not that far off for my parents. While the planning was a tad bit more formal than that, the spirit wasn’t. The mantra in my household regarding traveling was, “why not!?” As in, “why not take a trip around the world in a couple weeks?”

True story.

In total, I’ve been very blessed to have traveled to 39 countries, all 7 continents and at least 30 states. And one of the best memories from these trips was the freedom to act however I wanted. By this I mean to let loose and not worry about what anyone else thought. I could reinvent myself in a sublime setting with fun people and experiences all around me. When was I going to see these people again? Literally, never. From the hotel staffs to our fellow guests, they all felt and acted the same way.

It was a beautiful thing.

Speaking of getting into the spirit of the holidays, the following video clip from Adam Sandler’s movie, Blended¬†so wonderfully portrays that amazing dynamic of traveling to far off places: happily dancing without a care in the world.

Whether it was attending an awe-inspiring church service in a European capital or relaxing on a beach in Bali, Christmas Eve has always been a time for reflection and celebration. Even though these family trips have halted (marriages and little children), the memories will endure forever. It’s really special to recall all these family trips this time of year as one collective memory reel.

In other words, one blended reminiscence of the magic of family vacations at Christmas.

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The Sounds of Christmas Eve

One of my family traditions was traveling to somewhere new and exciting around the world at Christmas time. Unbelievably, we actually covered much of said world (that sentence was surreal to write and read, believe me!). From Europe to Asia to Canada to Australia to Africa to the Middle East to South and Central America and, yes, even flying over Antarctica for New Years 2002, I will forever treasure my memories from these trips/vacations (inside joke).

There are infinite stories to be told, but today’s post has a specific note in mind.

Let me explain.

When we were in Montreal one year, we got dressed up in our Sunday best on Christmas Eve and walked in the cold and snow to a nearby church. On this specific evening, the church we visited was as receptive to strangers as it was grand as it stretched an entire city block. On this night, we were very fortunate to spot five unreserved seats along the railing of the upper level. We watched, prayed and listened in amazement to the Christmas Eve service before our eyes.

And one part of that night that has stuck with me through all these years was the music. Specifically, the church choir. Perfect harmony and perfect mood for a night as inspiring as Christmas Eve as we begin to reflect on Christ’s birth only hours away on December 25th.

Below is an adaptation of a Coldplay song titled, “Christmas Lights.” In the spirit of this post, the song is performed by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, which is a Beligan women’s choir.

If you close your eyes, you just may find yourself, for three minutes and forty-five seconds, inside a church for a special Christmas Eve night service. Perhaps inside a wonderful church in Montreal…

Perfect tone for today and tonight.

Happy Christmas Eve!