Last night, my whole family (on my Mom's side) got together and celebrated Christmas since we will be visiting my Dad's side of the family in Medford this year.
It was nothing like Christmases past. There was no kolachi, no sweet rolls or tea rings. There were no presents and no tree. Initially I felt very sad. How could Christmas be Christmas without a tree and pretty gifts piled beneath it? My daddy had us all sit around the fire, and explained that since we could not afford to give gifts this year, instead our gifts would be to pray for each other as a family. All of us have been facing hardships that are not easy to overcome. So we prayed for jobs to be found, homes to be kept, hearts to be healed, health to be held, peace to be present and for joy to always be abounding, even in our darkest moments. My sweet grandma held my hand tight, praying that my pain would melt away and my heart would be restored, after all of the hurt, confusion and despair I have been through this year. There was not one single cheek without tears streaming down them. Even my youngest cousins who are only 8 and 6 were so moved that they too cried. My family is so very special and we have always been close, but last night there was a closeness I had never felt with them before. Without the beautiful distractions of presents, lights and the tree, we were able to focus on the things that really matter.
I am so lucky.
Without a doubt, this was my very most favorite Christmas.