Revelations: Everything is as it should be
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There's something about being home for the holidays that makes Christmas feel like it should - like it did when I was a kid.
I'm not ashamed to admit that Christmas family time is probably one of my favorite things each year, even though I'm usually ready for a family time break by day three.
Even now, as an adult, I embrace the stories of Santa Claus and his ageless, dwarfed helpers crafting toys at the North Pole.
Even now, as an adult, I enjoy driving through town and gazing upon twinkling houses and (historically inaccurate) manger scenes depicting the divine birth of Jesus.
I turn giddy when unloading my Christmas tree ornaments and reminiscing about the stories behind each glass ball.
In short, my zeal for Christmas has never left me, though I admit it looks somewhat different than it did when I was a child.
But there's nothing more precious than when I'm home for Christmas and spending time with family at my parents' house.
Many people are often unaware that as a reporter at a daily newspaper, holidays aren't guaranteed time off.
In this business, it's always a possibility that I'll be required to work a holiday and, therefore, required to schedule vacation time a few days before or after the actual day.
I've spent many holidays without my family, and they've grown accustomed to accommodating my schedule, even postponing the celebrations a few days early or late just so we can celebrate together as a family.
I haven't been home on Christmas Day for two years. So when I learned I'd be able to make it home for Christmas this year, I was extra giddy about my impending travels home to Atlanta.
We spent about a week together shopping and eating and drinking and making merry.
We caught up on family matters and laughed and cried and poked fun at each other in the ways families do.
And when we sat down at the dining room table on Christmas Eve, my father blessed the ham and turkey feast with prayer and thanksgiving for the meal he was able to provide us.
We were all very aware that Christmas Day was not the actual day of Jesus' birth. But we were all very aware that Christmas was our one day of the year that millions of people across the globe gather in celebration to honor the birth of the Divine Son.
And that it was the one day of the year that we, as Christians, would celebrate as one church and one giant family.
We raised our glasses and toasted our Lord.
It was a Christmas moment that felt like it should - just like it did when I was a kid.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss