I’ll be home for Christmas.

I’m dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you
I’ll be home for Christmas

I may have had this song on repeat at 2am as Jim and I were driving through the Blue Ridge on our way from Mississippi. It’s never meant more to me than this Christmas season.

This Christmas is the furthest I’ve lived from my Virginian home. When Jim and I loaded our car and hit the road after our workdays, we decided to power through the 11 1/2 hour drive until we reached that beautiful destination that is Roanoke, VA. Jim likes to remind me that Mississippi is our home now. While this is true, we both grew up in Virginia and it is where a majority of our family resides, so this is still home to me, too. Why not both!?

Clinton/Miller/Hurt Family Photo: 2016

I like to break our road trips down from one big destination into small, doable destinations. I get overwhelmed thinking that after I’ve been in a car for 6 hours, we’re only halfway home. Instead, Jim and I view our trek back to VA as such:

Meridian, MS: been on the road for an hour, yay!
Tuscaloosa, AL: where most people think Alabama football, but not us! This is the land of Chick-fil-a, dinner time and a place to stretch our legs.
Birmingham, AL: 3 hour mark, woohoo!
Chattanooga, TN: Our home away from home, where we attended college, and a place we love. Not to mention this is the halfway point!
Knoxville, TN: only 4ish hours away from home, and a possible coffee stop if we need some extra caffeine to make it back.
Bristol, VA: 2 1/2 hours from home, but our spirits really pick up here because we’re in VA!
Blacksburg, VA: the land of the Hokies and so close, only 40 more minutes!
Roanoke, VA: H O M E!

We roll into the driveway a little before 3 am, exhausted. But my heart swells with joy because we’re home.

The one thing I’m really trying to convey is you don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s gone, and this only intensifies when you’re in a new place. The longing for deep community, a sense of belonging and all that entails intensifies. This was our first holiday season as working adults. We experienced the hustle and bustle of the season, the stressfulness of working in order to take a vacation, all in a new environment. I know I talk a lot about all the news Jim and I have been facing the past year and a half: new states, new jobs, new schedules, new friends, new churches and so on. Even though Laurel feels more like home everyday, there’s something about your hometown that’s special. With all this new, there is such beauty in the familiar.

I am home for Christmas, y’all.

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