In 1943, a new Christmas carol ~
~ raced to the top of the charts. Think about that year in the life of America. We were in the midst of World War II. Soldiers, far from home on the front lines, could only
for Christmas. Their families, gathered around the Christmas tree, longed for their loved ones to be home at this most wonderful time of the year
Today, the message of the song remains the same ~ there is a desire to be home for Christmas,
if only in my dreams
I'm sure the song elicits a range of emotions. Some will head home to the smell of grandma's cookies and to find their stockings still hung by the chimney with care. Others will gather together with relatives coming from near and far.
But for many, the song truly depicts
just a dream
. Christmas 2010, finds children wondering which 'home' they will be in for Christmas as divorce has divided their family. The current economic hardships have left many families out on the streets, where
is where ever they can find a place to lay their head. Unresolved conflict will keep some families from coming together in the
, even at Christmas.
For those who find themselves on a journey of grief, this song elicits both dreams and memories ~ I dream about the way things
and cling to the memories of the way things
used to be
at Christmas time. To be completely honest here, it took more than 10 years after
died before I could listen to this song without tears filling my eyes. I longed for Scott to walk through my door and be home for Christmas. I wanted things to be like they were in
. I repeated the last line of the song again and again ~
If only in my dreams
~ long after the music stopped.
What finally transformed my thinking was when I realized the song's attempt to create a picture-perfect scene for the hearer. Now before you think me a Grinch, please hear me out. I know the song brings warm thoughts and precious memories for many of you. It did for me at one time; I believe it will again someday. But the song also creates many assumptions about the holiday and the experiences it brings. When someone's reality falls short of this wonderful Christmas scene, what remains are thoughts of disappointment and regret. Look at the lyrics ~
I'll be home for Christmas;
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.
Here is the assumptions I hear ~
Assumption #1: We each have a home to which to return ~ a significant, memorable place where you and yours gather for Christmas. For some, their home was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Assumption #2: The weather will cooperate to produce a White Christmas ~ another one of Bing's famous recordings.
Assumption #3: There will be presents under the tree ~ regardless of the balance in one's bank account.
Assumption #4: A home is filled with so much love that it creates a love that glows.
Assumption #5: Circumstances and surroundings are what makes Christmas special.
No, my heart is not two-sizes-too-small! Believe me, when it comes to being sentimental, I am right near the top of the list.
(I have the closets and boxes full of treasured items to prove it!)
But if I have learned anything on my own journey of grief it is this ~ most of us
in an assumptive world. And our assumptive world almost always disappoint us.
Christmas never was about being home or snow or presents on the tree. It is kind of ironic when you think about it. Christmas is the time to remember the Christ Child who
left his home
in heaven to be born in a manager. Christmas is not about dreaming and wishing you were somewhere other than where you are right now. Christmas is filled with promise and hope. For it is the very Babe of Bethlehem who has secured an eternal home to everyone who believes.
may you find