"Our brother is in the army," says Alexus Irvin-Sprague.
And the only thing she wanted was for Joshua Irvin to come home. Little did they know their big brother was right around the corner.
"I love him a lot and it means a lot that he's home. I'm really close to him so it's really cool," she continues.
No one knew as they stood in the Champaign Mall, including Grandma Sharon. She was preparing herself for the first Christmas without her oldest grandson.
She says, "I can't, I can't explain how happy I am. It's fantastic."
Irvin flew into Texas and his mom, Anita, drove more than 10 hours to pick him up, a long trip that was more than worth it.
Anita explains, "As a mom, as a single mom raising him all I've ever wanted was for him to live his dream and be successful and he's doing that."
Irvin's sisters seemed like they were still in shock. They just kept looking at their brother, who they say is their hero.
"It almost made me want to tear up,"
Irvin can only stay in the U.S. for 14 days. After that it's back to Germany. He'll deploy not long after.
"Just the fact of having him home now before he leaves are memories that I'm going to cherish because when he leaves, we don't know when the next time is we're going to see him."
The only thing missing was snow to make this holiday complete, but the mall made it an early white Christmas for this family.
"It's not about shopping or the gifts. It's about being with the ones you love."
"That is the best gift."
It didn't end there. After surprising his sisters, Jason went and saw his little brother for the first time in months.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.