By: Gabriela Yareliz

Recently, Atelier Doré announced its theme for the month is ‘coming home.’ Ahhh, the classic holiday move of returning to family and familiar grounds. For so many of us, home means two places: where our family lives and where we made memories, and also, the place where we lay our heads to rest each day, even if those two are miles apart. Also, home can mean a person.

Going home can be comforting, exciting, nostalgic and also stressful. (This isn’t including the whole airport hoopla). Some people have these homes that remain unchanged, and they encounter the same people at their family get-togethers. For me and for some of you whom I have spoken to, the constant of life is change, and it seems that sometimes, that has made us afraid. I know that personally, I have seen and dealt with more change than most see in a lifetime. I get how daunting that is.

But I guess, in this ever growing and expanding world, we all face some levels of change (even if, for some, it’s smaller and less emotional).

Families, cities, streets, campuses, churches and all kinds of things seem to change without us. Suddenly, we are back in a place that means so much to us, and so much is different, including ourselves. It would be naive to think that we are static.

It’s important to go and make new memories in all the changes with the people whose stories have shaped our own. Family ties uphold us in the darkest of times. And the ties that remain, must be celebrated. The ties broken, must be prayed for.

Holidays sometimes have a way of reminding us of all that is not as it should be, but that’s not what Christmas is about. We may be reminded of the absence of some loved ones, but that is not what Christmas is about. Christmas isn’t about absence or lack. It’s about God with us. Christmas is about a promise of restoration and redemption being fulfilled.

What I want to do is focus on that which is still the same. The members of family that remain. My perfectly adorable creature of a dog, who I pray hasn’t forgotten me. The sunrise on the cows and property out front, and the sunset through the trees and the property out back. I want to drive through Raleigh with the radio up; and drive up 34th Street and see the graffiti wall; and I want to go to Dauer Hall, and sit quietly by the basement door, where I spent so many mornings.

Florida always speaks to me. It offers a healing whisper in the crisp star lit nights. It’s simple, like a Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole. Home isn’t a tourist attraction. Home is for those who can see beauty in bare nature and simple southern stillness.

Home is about bubbling springs, sprawling trees draped in Spanish moss, quiet so loud you can hear every insect, and strength— lots of quiet strength that will carry me through the next turning point.

I hope you find your own quiet strength and hope in whatever home means to you.

Christmas is coming, and I know there will be a bright shining star in the dark night, because it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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