How quickly Christmas is approaching! It seems like I was just writing about finally putting up my tree. The year has flown by. Soon, we’ll be bringing in the New Year. It just seems so unreal!
Gabe went to be with his dad Friday. I hate it when he’s gone. Thankfully, this weekend has sped past; I’ve baked pretty much the entire time. Soon, my Gabe will be home and all will be complete. When I wasn’t baking, I was at my aunt’s house saying goodbye to a cousin who has been in town for a month. It’s been great getting to spend some time with him and we’ll all miss him when he returns to Florida. About the time Andy will be leaving for home, my brother Aaron will be returning from Iraq. He’s been there for about a year, and we’re all ready for him to finally get back. December has proven thus far to be a good month. Hopefully it will end much the same.
On another note: I’ve a confession. I’m a freak. Yes, a freak. I listen to Christmas music all year ’round, and probably listen to it 10x’s more during the month of December. I love it, and if that makes me strange… well. I’ll just add that to the ever-growing list. But I love Christmas music. It makes me happy. It makes me think. It makes me thankful. As I mentioned in my last post, music in-and-of-itself is a powerful tool. It can be thought-provoking. It carries with it a variety of emotions. Music is something that most everyone can relate to. Some lean towards the twang of country; some the mellow, and sometimes angst-ridden, sounds of rock. Some prefer rap (???); some polka (?????). I think you get the idea. I am quite fond of the melodic tunes that are generally found in holiday music (annoying, tinny ones excluded).
One of my very favorites was written by Henry W. Longfellow. The history behind the song is nothing particularly grand. He wrote it shortly after the death of his second wife and crippling injury of his oldest son (his son, Charles, fought in the Civil War). The original title of the song was “Christmas Bells” and contained seven stanzas. Two of the stanzas, which were written about the Civil War, have been taken out and the title changed to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. The song was written for his late wife and then crippled son. The story behind the song is a tragic one. The song itself, however, is a song of hope. My favorite stanza is this:
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘GOD IS NOT DEAD NOR DOES HE SLEEP!’
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, GOOD WILL TO MEN.”
How wonderful. This song was written at time when our country was facing one of its bleakest hours, and yet there was a song of hope. Henry Longfellow faced the death of his wife and injury of his son, and he HAD A SONG OF HOPE. Christmas is a time of hope. It is a time of wonder. A time for love, peace, and understanding. Although the Civil War was certainly none of those things, still a song of hope and faith emerged. How amazing! Today, we all face moments similar to what he faced. We face death, war, hate, violence… but still, we have hope — whether we accept it or not.
“God is not dead nor does he sleep.”
If I don’t write again until after Christmas, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Celebrate with the ones you love, remember those who are far away this year, and be thankful that you’ve got another Christmas to celebrate!