Last night, I went out to have a nice meal for Christmas Eve before attending services. The meal was fantastic, and I met some new people who sat beside me - a nice young couple from Australia. After dinner, I attended the traditional song services at the amazing Sacre Coeur - my favorite cathedral in Paris. Although the service was in French, it was still lovely. There were SO many people there, scrambling to find seats. I've never attended a service that needed a large screen for those in the aisles to see. It was quite overwhelming and definitely not the same quaint feel you get from a hometown church like mine.
Now, here it is, Christmas morning. I woke up to the smell of coffee coming from downstairs. There is no snow, no presents, and no family here. It really doesn't feel like Christmas at all, actually. I love that I am blessed enough to travel and see the world, but this year, I realized something very important - there is no way to replace family. I am in a city I love with food I love, and yet, it's not the same. After 32 years, this is the first I have been w/out my mother. Yes, I am a momma's girl. I always have been. I know she reads this, so "I LOVE YOU MOM!" We'll skype soon, which gives me a part of you here with me. ;)
To the rest of you, may your holidays be filled with love, memories, and most importantly - those you care about. Remember that Christmas isn't about how many gifts you get, but how many gifts in life you have been given. It isn't about how much money you spend on others, but how much time you spend with them. And it isn't about making sure they love their presents, but making sure they know you love them. Enjoy your holiday. I'll be back before New Year's!