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The tree tops sped by in a blur, briefly blocking out the cloudless night sky. It was a long drive back home from Paris, Tennessee on Christmas Eve, but that one scene remained familiar: me, staring out the window at the night sky contemplating what awaited everyone the next morning. The annual pilgrimage stopped after we moved to Nashville, and with it went one of the reliable traditions of my childhood. It was the first of many traditions that faded away to memory. The winter air on a moonlit night still gives a bit of a path back to it, but I simply smile at the long and winding journey since then.

Much like those years, there will be no snow on the ground tomorrow morning. In our home, the evidence of Christmas comes in the form of snowflake decorations hanging around, stockings hung in the hallway and a tiny pre-lit Christmas tree adorning our sideboard. The warmth of the holiday season can be seen in the Cards Against Humanity box sitting over in the corner that brought together a group of college friends and others we have met along the way into our apartment for way too much laughter. I can also see it when I curl up next to my wife for another round of Letterpress on our phones.

But I know that the holidays are not always easy. There is a lot of unspoken pain and disappointment that the ones we care about wrestle with in their own way. The new year gives an opportunity for everyone to confront those challenges and rely on friends and family to help them. My simple prayer to lift up this Christmas is that peace comes to the troubled, joy to the unhappy, and love to all of us.