My favorite childhood memories of Christmas were in Seattle. We’d sit in front of our Christmas tree unwrapping the what seemed like thousands of presents for each of us. My mom and dad taking pictures as they see the smile on our face for each hand wrapped present we received. Later in life it became the whole time throughout November when the choir would spend countless hours of practice to perfect the new songs for the Christmas program. It was excruciating to stand there and re-sing a song over and over but I wouldn’t trade that because of the thousands of memories that were created with my family and friends.

This Christmas is a little more special for me. I don’t really have a plethora of presents. I haven’t spent countless hours of choir practice in years, although I miss those days. No, its special to me because of everything that happened this year. This year, without the worry of having to work at retail the night prior and day after Christmas I have the joy of relaxation. My family will all gather at my humble abode – for the first time ever – sharing in laughter and love. On top of that I can look back at this year and realize I’ve conquered or am conquering what should have crippled me. This year Christmas is special because my husband and I get a chance to start over and are rewriting and extending an ending that we weren’t ready to have. All of this by the grace of God.

And of course Christmas is special because of the celebration of the birth of my King. During this holiday I’ve thought of how scared Mary and Joseph had to be to embark on the journey of knowing the birth of their son was the birth of the Son. I’ve thought about how humbled they had to be on their trek to acquiesce to spend their night in a barn knowing the prophecy of Who Mary was carrying. To give their lives entirely to the purpose of God without really batting and eye is pretty amazing. I mean, I’m so darn stubborn that I fight every direction because I just “have to know” why, when and how. Today’s Christmas is special because while I have always celebrated the real reason for Christmas, I see it differently this year. It just makes more sense to me: the sacrifices made by the ones intimately involved; the obedience, faith and trust of Mary and Joseph; the   blessings received because of their faithfulness. How special it is to just be obedient. This Christmas is special because maybe, just maybe, I have grown up.

So today, with love I wish you a Merry Christmas, my loves, to you and your families. May today bring you joy and laughter and fellowship. Enjoy today. Whether you believe in God, the birth of Jesus, of faith as a whole, know that today is special because of your friends and family. May you be surrounded by love, be engulfed in the love of those around you, and may you share in the love of hope and peace. For those of you who are far from their families, sending you all of my love  and hopes for the new year.

Merry Christmas to all those who have gone before us. Most of all, Merry Christmas Daddy, Grandpa and Jackson. I miss you all so much today. If I could have one more day, one more hour, one more minute with you I’d tell you how much you have changed my life and helped shape me into the person that I am today.

Mele Kalikimaka, my loves.