Christmas is a time when families who haven't seen each other in a long time can be reunited. Christmas cards are sent out with pictures of lots of families together, happy, and smiling. But not every family gets to be together for Christmas. That’s the case for this one family but the wife came up with an idea that is equal parts, heartwarming and funny so that her family could be close this year.

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Brandon Sistrunk is a husband and father of four.

This year he won’t be home for Christmas, so his wife Ashley came up with a way he could be.

Ashley took a photo of herself and the kids with a sign that said “Christmas.”

Four thousand miles away in Iraq, where Brandon is deployed, he took a picture of himself holding a sign that said “Merry.”

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Using Photoshop, Ashley was able to combine the two photos to make it look like the family was all together.

“Having a piece of your heart across the world, fighting for your country. It’s just a whole other level of emotions,” she said. 

It’s been hard for Ashley and the kids while Brandon is away.

“We tell the kids, ‘Yes, other kids have their daddy home right now. But their daddy is out being a superhero, keeping our country safe and that’s important ― that’s an important job.”

“I hate wanting to wish away a holiday. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, but with Brandon gone and the kids begging to have him home on Christmas, it just won’t be the same.

“I know we are supposed to ‘live for today!’, but I wish I could wake up tomorrow and have it be late January!”

Brandon will be home with his family next year so they'll be able to take a family photo all together.