I love Christmas. Well, any year but this year. I love the decorating, the shopping, the Advent candles and services, the preparations, the special goodies, the carols, the lights, the excitement and especially singing Silent Night in a candlelit church (which may be a Lutheran thing...hmmmm). This year, of course, was tough. Months ago, I realized that none of us could face Christmas here without Mama. I called my uncle, my mother's favorite brother, and invited ourselves to Texas. I am so, so glad we went.
We left town earlier than originally planned because I just could not stand a second more of being here without my Mama. The world felt completely skewed and I was uncomfortable in my own skin. So we made the long drive from a home that didn't feel at all like Christmas to my uncle's house, were Christmas was quietly waiting. My aunt and uncle had beautiful Christmas lights. They had Christmas music playing. They had a crackling fire, beautiful nativity sets, three trees, my grandfather sitting in an easy chair and tons of cookies. Most of these things were available here, and yet it didn't feel the same. Quaint or cliche as it may sound, there is much to be said for being sheltered in the arms of your family. It is so good to be loved. And it is love that makes all the difference.