Friday, December 21, 2012
First Christmas 1988
I thought I'd share my most favorite Christmas memory and
maybe encourage you to share yours!
Scott and I had been married in July of 1988, but Scott had to leave to head overseas with the USMC aboard the JKF Aircraft carrier one week after our wedding. I lived alone in a studio apartment working to fill the time until he returned to pick me up and take me to where we would be stationed: North Carolina.
On Thanksgiving night, Scott was able to call from the JFK. I was so thrilled to hear his voice as his calls were few and far between. He quickly asked me a special question, "Why don't you meet me in Paris, France for Christmas?" I was so excited! The JFK would be docked in the south of France in December, so Scott arranged to have leave in order to fly to Paris and meet me there.
We didn't have alot of money and had to borrow some from the in-laws, who tried to talk me out of going ("he'll be home in a month..." they said. Of course, a month to a newlywed is like TEN YEARS!) With money in hand, I asked a travel agent I knew through work to help me make the arrangements. You see, I wouldn't be able to talk to Scott again until we were face-to-face in Paris, so I had to arrange the hotel and flights THEN write a letter to him explaining all the arrangements in hopes that the letter would reach him in time and he would know where to go in Paris to meet me.
My travel agent was superb in that she found a quaint hotel and flights for me all at a reasonable price. It was all set! Except for one small detail: my passport. I didn't have one. The wait time for a passport was usually 3 weeks, but then I would have to send it to L.A. for the French Consulate to stamp it with a travel VISA...and that usually took another 3 weeks. My travel agent friend was honest with me in that she didn't think this was going to happen. Plus, I didn't have much vacation time accrued, but my boss wasn't about to stop me from going to France to see my husband of 4 months!
I remember I prayed and asked the Lord for His will. "If you want me to go, Lord, then I know you will get me my passport in plenty of time..." I wrote a sad sad note telling the French Consulate my whole story and included a check for them to send me my passport back Federal Express overnight. Then, I sent it off with a prayer and a lot of hope.
I got my passport back that next week with my stamp! I was all set to go. I packed my bags, said good-bye to my family and headed overseas alone to meet my husband...and I didn't even know if he was going to be there. Well, if not, I knew I would find something to do in Paris for 5 days!
After a long flight, I arrived on December 23rd at about 10 am and took a taxi to my hotel. We drove through the streets of Paris and it was so lovely. The city was decorated for Christmas. I arrived safely at the hotel and told them who I was. They remembered the story and proceeded to tell me that my husband had not yet arrived, but they would alert me when he did. So I went up to my room, showered, and fell asleep. It was the phone ringing that woke me to a dark room. I thought it must be midnight, but it was only 5 in the evening.
The voice on the other end was Scott! "Where are you?" I asked. "In the lobby," he answered. "Well, get up here!" I ordered. A few minutes later, we had our blessed reunion together in Paris, France.
We were 21 year old kids together in the City of Lights. We didn't have much money and the museums were closed because of a strike....but we had each other. We had so much fun together. It was cold and rainy, but we didn't care! We walked the streets and ate hot dogs from a vendor. We had one special dinner at a small cozy restaurant near the Opera House one night. 5 fun-filled days.
Then it was time for me to go home. Saying good-bye (yet again...) at the airport was tough. We were pros at saying good-bye by this time in our married life! But there was the hope that Scott would be back in Phoenix in February 1989.
Well, that was our first Christmas as a married couple. I am so glad I didn't let sensible people talk me out of going! It was unforgettable and a true testament to how God is in control over every aspect of our lives. He hears prayers. He answers them too. He was gracious to us silly romantic kids! I know we'll return to Paris one day....
I thank the Lord everyday for my life with Scott. It has been quite the adventure. But I mostly thank the Lord for Christmas and the gift of salvation. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year....