Christmas in Joey + Rory's household was a little different this year: Faced with Joey Feek's terminal cancer diagnosis, the couple had been celebrating Christmas early, receiving special holiday messages from friends and bracing for the possibility that Joey Feek would not be celebrating Christmas on Earth. However, as Rory Feek writes in a new blog post, Christmas of 2015 turned out to be an "amazing" day.

As Rory Feek explains, he and his wife had been calling this Christmas their "Gruffalo" -- a character in their daughter Indiana's favorite book and movie that another character, a mouse, thinks he made up but turns out to be real

"That’s a little like our holidays [this] year: In early November, Christmas seemed still so far away. And the prognosis was clear that there was a good chance Joey wasn’t going to be with us then and that this Christmas was going to be a difficult one to get through," Rory Feek says. "So like the mouse in Indy’s story, we all began to ‘make up’ our own Gruffalo. Ours was the belief that it was going to be a wonderful, magical Christmas. We didn’t really believe it -- down deep inside we knew we knew better -- but still we told ourselves and each other that it was going to be great."

However, Feek continues, it just so happened that their Christmas wishes all came true.

"... [I]t turned out that our Gruffalo was real, too. Christmas had come, and Joey was not only here with us, but she was doing well and we all had an amazing day together," he adds. "There was a beautiful Christmas tree filled with wonder … Christmas cookies that we made together … New pajamas that we opened and put on the night before (it’s our yearly tradition) … Lots of presents to open on Christmas morning … And a big Christmas dinner in the evening and fun with all of Joey’s family … It truly was an incredible Christmas!"

As Rory Feek notes, "Sometimes believing is seeing" -- a mantra that he and his family are keeping in mind heading into 2016.

"... [W]e will continue to believe and trust that what is waiting on the other side of the deep, dark wood is something even better and more beautiful than our minds can even imagine," he says.

In late October, Rory Feek informed fans, via his blog, that his wife’s first round of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for Stage IV cervical cancer did not help; rather, two quarter-sized tumors had appeared in the same area that the doctors had been treating, and several more tumors had appeared in her abdomen. In light of that sad news, the Feeks stopped all medical treatments, returned to their Tennessee farm and canceled all of their Farmhouse Concerts that were scheduled for November and December. They have been spending time in Joey Feek’s hometown, visiting with family, friends and other loved ones, and in early November, Rory Feek revealed that his wife had entered home hospice care.

“I pray that one morning I just don’t wake up. But I don’t fear anything because I’m so close to God, and we’ve talked about it so many times. I know he’s close. And I know he loves me,” Joey Feek says. “I’m really at peace. I still believe there’s healing in prayer.”

In February, Joey + Rory’s Hymns That Are Important to Us album will be released, with proceeds benefiting the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation, in honor of the Feeks’ daughter Indiana‘s best friend Scout, who has Loeys-Dietz Syndrome. Meanwhile, fans and fellow country artists have been campaigning to get Joey + Rory’s song “When I’m Gone,” originally released in 2012, to the top of the iTunes charts.

Country Stars Say "Joey's Prayer" for Joey Feek

Joey Feek + More Country Stars Who Stand Up to Cancer