i never truly understood the whole "home for the holidays" hype.
growing up, there was so much yelling and fighting in my home around the holidays that i believed i could have a better Christmas elsewhere.
that changed when i spent two Christmases in a row away from my family and away from my home. the first year i was with extended family on the other side of the country.
the second year (last Christmas) i had absolutely no one. i had been isolated and cut off from everything and everyone and was still distanced from my religious congregation. i was blessed to have a family take me into their home, shower me with presents, and take me to their big family Christmas dinner.
i've had such wonderful people in my life, people who've taken care of me in times of need and blessed me in numerous ways.
my past two Christmases have taught me a lot.
more than anything else, i learned that there really is no place like home for the holidays.
there are so many reasons why there's no place like home for the holidays.
there are traditions that no one else can truly understand.
traditions and special food that speaks to your heart like nothing else can.
there's a love that's there - even through chaos and contention - that surpasses almost any other kind of love.
this year, i realized that no one but your family knows and loves the same holiday songs, the same special versions, and the same eclectic combination as you. family knows the songs, sings the harmonies, and often gets emotional in the same places.
this year, i'm treasuring being home for the holidays.
no, not everything is perfect.
no family is.
and seeing old acquaintances, old loves, and old friends can be less than pleasant.
but they say home is where the heart is.
and my family has a lot of heart.
hugging my nephew, having sleepovers with my niece, and making delicious family recipes make Christmas special to me.
more than anything, being home for Christmas reminds me of what Christmas is all about.
i hope that whoever you are, wherever you are, you are enjoying the holidays with people who love you.
Christmas is all about love.
Christmas is about Christ.
and Christ was love.