I'm am completely un-politically correct so I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
When I was growing up, Christmas was my all-time favorite holiday. We would wake up early and open presents, then our entire family would gather at my grandma's house. My dad would pile we three kids into our sometimes working Volkswagon bus--which had no heat in the back so my brothers and I had to bundle up under sleeping backs for warmth--and we'd make the 3-hour drive to Erie, PA. Of course we kids would argue, but we'd also play games together. Those hours were quality family time that I feel so blessed to have shared.
My middle brother has been gone for 9.5 years and my dad 6. Both of them would have celebrated birthdays this past week. For a while I dreaded the Christmas season, couldn't stand to celebrate, couldn't buy presents, and wouldn't go out in public the entire birthday week. But now I feel their love around so vibrantly, and I know they are here with me during Christmas.
I know there are many people out there who have to go through the holidays without a family member. Holidays in general can be hard as we struggle to go on with our lives. But I believe the best gift we can give them is to live, to honor their memories in all that we do, and to hold them tightly in our hearts. And while they may not be with us in body, they are our own personal guardian angels forever watching over us.
Merry Christmas, Dad and Matt, and happy birthday!