I'm sitting in the quiet lull of Christmas Eve, in that golden hour between finishing the dinner dishes and leaving for a late-night candlelight service at church. My husband is comfy in his chair, the dogs are asleep, and the kids are upstairs building the mother of all forts in the game room.
All is well in our house this holiday season.
But beneath my content runs the cold undercurrent of understanding how fast life can change. For proof, I need only remember the gathering we attended today where three of our immediate family members were fighting cancer--the youngest barely thirty years old.
My mom lives two thousand miles away. Last week when I hugged her I was stunned by how small she's become. She's facing a daunting life change, and it scares her. I can't do anything to halt the change. All I can do is put my arms around her and say, "We've got you, Mom. Whatever happens, we'll make sure you're okay."
In a few hours we'll open jammies and drink hot chocolate and say goodnight. But my beautiful kids are growing older, and the days of wondering when Santa will come have been replaced by teenage humor and tempered expectations.
The only constant in life is change. Part of my appreciation for this holiday comes from knowing it'll be the only Christmas 2014 I'll ever experience.
Wherever you are tonight, whatever emotional place or geography or stage of life you find yourself in, I wish you a peaceful Christmas Eve surrounded by those you love.