I adore Christmas time. I love the lights and I love the heart and the warmth despite the cold. I love the spirit of Christmas, and the feel of the time itself. I love that people remember to be thankful and the families come together and I may be a bit bitter about all the people getting engaged and starting new families, but I'm happy for them too, because the Christmas spirit is a perfect backdrop to that. I love that it's a time of traditions underscored by the giving of new gifts. And I love Christmas music. I think the earliest I've started listening to Christmas music was in August. The song "I'll Be Home for Christmas" has always been very close to me and it's always made me cry and I imagine it always will make me cry, and it makes me wonder what it means to be home for Christmas.
Growing up in a military family, this song was always evocative of the neighbors whose daddy was in Afghanistan, evocative of some soldier with a picture of his family in his wallet, evocative of the wife whose husband was killed and this is the first Christmas since then. My family and I used to make cookies for the young guys who were stuck in the barracks for Christmas and I always used to wonder what home was for them, and if they joined to escape home or if they hurt to be away from home. And that's why it made me cry then.
Now it makes me cry for that reason and two more. The first is that I realized that I'm not even really sure what it means to be home for Christmas because I've been around so much and traditions are always changing or are always embraced with different sentiment, and I have known my entire life that I've wanted to be home for Christmas and I've never quite gotten there, but I've gotten hints, and I love those hints. The second is that the former paragraph is now my implied future. He would say I am romanticizing it, and I am, this is more sentimental than it will be, and he won't be thinking like the song, but, nonetheless, it is my recurring thought toward future Christmases and that makes me cry because he's one of my hints about what it's like to be home for Christmas. Of course, it's alright because I do know what it means to be home, and to be home encompasses my tears and joy alike.
And I wonder what the song means in tandem with Christ coming into the world on Christmas. This, after all, is not Christ's home, but he has adopted us as family. So, was he home for Christmas? Does he challenge the very idea of what it means to be home for Christmas? At the very least, he proves that I should not mourn being home on Christmas, because he gave up his in the greatest act of love and generosity (or maybe he came home in such an act). And maybe "I'll Be Home for Christmas" encompasses the joy and sorrow and generosity of the spirit of Christmas time. So many bright lights and people home and people dreaming, centered on a joy and home that are bigger than any known mourning or joy. And home and Christmas are transcendent.