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Friday, December 21, 2012

I'll Be Home for Christmas

   You hear it played in the malls, over the airwaves, on the Christmas CD... "I'll be home for Christmas!"  For years, I couldn't sing that song without sadness... we all long to be with our loved ones at Christmas time. It is the ideal, the stuff of Christmas movies and Christmas cards...

  The year all our five children came home with assorted spouses and loved ones, I was so excited!  It was the first time in our married life they had all gathered under one roof, and I went crazy with preparations.  I believe I hung 17 stockings that year and planned and shopped and was full of joyful anticipation.  I'm thinking I'm not unlike most mothers out there... we love our children, and we love to be with them...

  Today I had a very joyful moment when I heard my son was "home" for Christmas.  No, he is not in Canada, and I miss him and his wife... but he had been abroad, far away from the home he has in the southern states, and when I heard he had arrived safely from the Middle East, I heaved a contented sigh... knowing he was safe, and happy to be with his wife... and soon to be first child!!

  There is a melancholy that can come with the holidays... it triggers memories and longings.  For some - and I know many, this will be a first Christmas without their loved one.  I think of saying good-bye this year to Dene and Gerda and I miss them still.  A dear friend lost her husband this year, and there is an empty chair at their family gatherings.  Home for Christmas?  Not on earth this year.

  But I often think of Dene (and we talked often), and I know she longed for her heavenly home.  She would say she is "home" for Christmas this year... but I also ache for the family who miss her, who miss her presence, her wisdom, her joy of life.

  Years ago, just months after I was widowed, in November, I happened to be in a mall and I heard the song.."I'll be home for Christmas..."  I choked up, I panicked, I ran...the words were just too painful at that point of my life.  The reality was that I would experience my first Christmas as a widow, my children without a father, and that was just plain hard.  Yes, we survived... and I worked hard to make that Christmas as gentle and peaceful and loving as possible.

  So this year, as we also remember those who grieve... and there are many... give them an extra hug.  Make the phone call, send an e-mail, invite them for dinner...

  And we also have the comfort to know of those for whom heaven is a reality this year, they have truly gone "home" for Christmas.

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