For most people, the holidays are about coming “home.” For some people, it might be returning to the house where they grew up. They revisit their parents or grandparents, amazed to realize how small the house appears after so many decades. I know I was shocked when I returned to my childhood house. The rooms felt confining and I didn’t remember how close the walls were to each other! Ha ha.
For other people, home might just be the people they are with. It doesn’t matter where they actually celebrate the holidays as long as they are surrounded by loved ones. And still, for quite a few people, the holiday home is at the church where they worship the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For many newlywedded Amish couples, they don’t have a “home” of their own yet. In fact, it might be months before they actually buy a place and move into it. Some even rent a small dawdihaus, a tiny house on another Amish family’s property usually reserved for aging parents. Traditionally, most Amish couples get married in November and early December. Weddings are often planned quickly and, afterwards, the couple will reside with their parents…sometimes together, sometimes apart, especially if they have work commitments in other directions. They’ll see each other in the evenings or weekends, usually visiting other family members during this “honeymoon” period.
It might sound strange to us, but it’s practical to them. You see, housing isn’t plentiful in Amish communities and couples don’t have the luxury of moving too far away. They don’t have cars to commute and they want to be near their friends and family.
In A Christmas Gift for Rebecca, the young Rebecca is newly married and living in such an arrangement. She wishes, more than anything, that she could spend more time with her husband, Gideon. But, like so many other couples, she is needed on the farm to help her parents while he has responsibilities at his family farm.
Unbeknownst to her, Gideon has a surprise for Rebecca. He wants their first Christmas to be special and a reminder to her that home is wherever they are, as long as they are together.
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.