this year was my first Banks Family Thanksgiving and i just loved it! if i'm not spending time with my family down in bunkerville there is no place i'd rather be than with the banks family. i love them all so much. i really lucked out in the in-laws department.
one thing about my mother-in-law is that everything she does is beautiful. her table was set when we got there and it was simply gorgeous. coming from my big family paper plate thanksgiving dinner (that i love so, so much) walking in and seeing gorgeous dishes with real cloth napkins and place settings was really different, but i absolutely loved it.
this year i have been overwhelmed with gratitude. everyone says the first year of marriage is hard, which yes, at times it has been difficult, but we have just been so, so blessed and that has made everything worth it. i am so grateful for the family that i have been blessed with. i feel incredibly grateful that Heavenly Father allowed me to meet, become friends with and then marry Parker. he has been the best husband that i could have ever asked for. i'm grateful for our sweet little apartment that has housed us for the last ten months of our lives. i'm grateful for friends near and far. i'm thankful for my photography hobby that turned into a job this year. i'm so grateful for my wonderful clients and friends and family. so grateful. i'm grateful for the gospel that teaches me of my Savior. i'm grateful for my Savior. i'm grateful for my Savior. i am so, so grateful for my Savior. because of Him, i can find peace and hope in my daily life-- when i need it the most. i am beyond excited to be able to publicly celebrate Christmas now because i absolutely love the Christmas season. it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. i have 1000 favorite Christmas songs, parts of Christmas and traditions, but my very favorite thing about Christmas is the fact that we get to celebrate the fact that our Savior was born. every time i think about that tiny babe in that manger, i get all choked up. i love that baby so much. i am incredibly grateful for Him and the road that He walked for me.
my favorite Christmas book is called God Bless Your Way. (i've mentioned this probably every year, but it is my all time favorite.) in the story a man named Micah is on his way to Bethlehem to be taxed, he follows a young man and his pregnant wife into the city. he too, searches for a place to stay that evening but, like mary and joseph, he can't find a place to stay either. he sees the manger and goes in and finds the man and woman he followed into town. he notices the tiny, newborn babe and asks to hold him. and then he says to the baby, "they said You're from Heaven and that You've been sent here for my sake." (you can listen to the story in a beautiful song by hilary weeks, here)
that's why He came. He came for you.
that tiny, little baby came for me.
i am so grateful. my heart is over flowing this holiday season.