Family Night Celebrations
At our house, we particularly like commemorating important family events during our family nights. Besides our regular religious instruction, we use the predictable time set aside for family to celebrate birthdays, holidays, special achievements, and awards. Our celebrations of these moments help us appreciate one another and our relationship as a family.
One such celebration, which has become a traditional family night, is the celebration of our wedding anniversary. We are fortunate enough to live close to the temple in which we were married. On the appointed night, the whole family dresses in their Sunday best, and we drive to the temple. We tour the beautifully kept grounds, admiring the landscaping and the architecture of the building. The flowers are just starting to bloom. Usually, bright daffodils brighten the grounds with their profusion. We like to point out the spire on top of the temple that reaches up to the heavens. The angel Moroni, we remind each other, symbolizes the restoration of the gospel. The beautiful unadorned, white exterior of the building represents purity, as does every symbol of temple worship.
We also discuss with our children what some of the rooms within the temple look like, as we stand viewing its exterior. The children love to hear about the luxurious furniture, mirrors, and chandeliers that decorate the rooms. We talk about our love for Christ and Heavenly Father and how we as members of the Church want to give our very best to honor them both in our temples.
After this we go into the visitors’ center, which is open on Monday nights. The missionary couples who conduct the tours are always helpful and spend extra time with us when they find out why we are there. We go through the entire tour and especially concentrate on the part about the function of temples, both ancient and modern. The workers at the visitors’ center have always invited the children to come back and enter the temple when they are old enough to do baptisms for the dead, go on missions, and marry. We tell the children about our own wedding day and the great happiness we felt in being worthy to be married for time and all eternity. They love to hear details about that day—the ceremony, how Grandpa performed the sealing, and who came to witness it.
It has also been a choice time to take another updated family snapshot or portrait to commemorate another year as an eternal family. We have done this both on the temple grounds and earlier that day at a studio.
Before leaving the visitors’ center, we like to take one final look at the temple as it is framed in the center’s windows. The missionary couples have often at this point shared with us their own marriage stories.
After thanking them for the spirit they have shared with us, we head out to dinner on a family “date” to a nice restaurant. Each year we try to pick a different place. The evening has the added bonus of giving our young children the opportunity of dining in public in their good clothes. They practice polite table manners beforehand so that things can go as smoothly as possible during dinner.
On the way home, we bear testimony to the children about the importance and beauty of a temple marriage once more and express our love for our children and especially for each other.
This family night celebration is a highlight and sets the stage for many other family night discussions both before and after this event.