Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!!!! It’s been an absolutely wonderful day before Christmas around here…it’s crazy to think back to the horrors of last year. Today marks one year since my mom was first told that there was a mass found in her body and it looked like cancer (you could go back to almost the beginning of this blog to read a little more on that). I won’t post too much tonight, but today as we were sitting in the Christmas Eve service at Colonial, I couldn’t help but remember how we were sitting in Wake Med Hospital being told to worst news we thought possible exactly a year ago…and yet that news led us in to one of the best years we have ever had as a family. Last year, as we sat in that hospital and then got home, we just hugged and cried with no words said to each other for what seemed like an eternity. We then quickly decided to try and make the best of the holiday together. Everyone kicked it into gear to get dinner ready so Mom wouldn’t have to do anything and then we exchanged our one gift with our siblings before bringing down the rest of the gifts. Christmas Eve and Christmas last year were filled with by God’s grace chosen (at moments forced) hope that was mingled pain, fear, and sorrow. It was the most bizarre feeling I have ever had. But in the midst of all that, there was a nearness to God. That nearness remained through thick and thin. Even when we didn’t feel quite as near at times, God would help us remain faithful as He is faithful and brought us back close to Him. I was reminded today of the song Joy to the World. I have experienced that Joy in a way this year like I never knew I could. There is NO joy in the world without Christ; that’s why in the song that phrase is followed by “the Lord has come.” The same is true of any situation in life…there is no joy without Christ. Last year, I learned that very quickly. In the midst of absolute terror, surprise, and utter heart-wrenching pain there was peace and joy and ONLY because of Christ! This year was much different. We got to make pie together, cook dinner, wrap gifts, laugh, think back on everything that had happened, eat meals together, and enjoy each other’s company. This Christmas Eve was extra special and extra sweet to all of us and I am so grateful to have been all together another year. Alright, there is so much more I could say and I wanna share, but I am gonna get back to my family now. Tomorrow if I have time, I will share some of the gifts receive/given (especially the special ones opened tonight) and a little more about the traditions around here for Christmas time! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!!