You could attribute that to actually having places to go and people to see this year. Or a grounding from our favorite advent readings. Or maybe a good ol' dose of God-given maturity? That'd be nice too. Whichever way [none being anything I did myself], I've certainly enjoyed a sense of simplicity during the Christmas season this year.
There's been long lunches with friends before braving the mall, shopping for an adoptive family, wrapping gifts to Christmas music, dinner with neighbors, Sunday School Christmas parties, and lazy mornings together making pancakes with red and green chocolate chips. Simple things that are so much more important than the things I distracted my lonely self with last year.
I'm very thankful for Christmas 2013. I don't say all this to make it seem like the last few weeks have been obnoxiously perfect. There are still worries and stress. We miss the loved ones we lost this year. I get anxious for what I hope 2014 will bring. But I'm thankful for the changes that have come since last Christmas and what we've learned from them. For every Saturday morning pancake made, every pot of soup, every friend who steps through the door that makes this seem more like home.