Remember the song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?”
I guess the question is really kinda stupid because it, along with so many others, has played nonstop over the last few weeks. In fact, driving back from my folk’s house tonight, every single radio station was playing Christmas music, and I commented to my bride: “I’m sick of Christmas music.” That doesn’t necessarily make me a Scrooge, it just means I’m sick of Christmas music.
But back to the song. Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis, ”Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is tearfully sung by Garland to child star Margaret O’Brien in the movie. The movie chronicles the change in seasons and times of St. Louis including the Christmas season. The song was meant to be a meloncholoy farewell to the past with an acknowledgement that the future was uncertain. A real bummer.
For me, this year, I really did have a merry little Christmas. A bummer it was not.
My merry little Christmas? No rushing around like a crazy person, spending money I didn’t have on things no one wanted. We forewent that experience. Partially on purpose, partially forced; yet, the end result was surprisingly nice.
We gave, but not in the way we would have expected. We gave of ourselves, not intentionally, to people in need. We reached out, practically by accident, and helped the downtrodden. We were ourselves, but that, to some, made us angels in disguise.
We attended an Christmas Eve service unlike any before. We sat around a table and listened to incredible tales of hardship, loss, sadness and, unpredictably, hope. We gave someone a ride home who would spend Christmas alone, far from his wife and three children whom he hasn’t seen in almost two years. He bid us a very merry Christmas as he stepped to the curb and entered a dark apartment. And he was absolutely sincere in his wishes for us.
We were embraced by a gentleman who looked far older than he actually was. He said, with eyes misty with tears, that we were olives in his life. We must have shown our confusion on our faces because he proceeded to explain. “Olives are the fruit of the olive tree. The olive tree, in the Bible, is considered to be the tree of life. You two have shown me the value of life no matter what is happening. You are my olives, the fruit of the tree that gives life.”
How do you top that?
We talked with a man who was in incredible pain due to a blotched operation last year. The doc simply screwed up. Fused the wrong verterbrae and worsened a neurological problem that now cannot be corrected. He has no money, no insurance and no advocate for help with his dilemma. Yet his smile was a big as the Grand Canyon. He’d become a follower of the Jesus Lord just two weeks ago and he said that he was already being blessed because God had plopped us down in his path and we’d already done more to help him in a week than anyone had done in the entire year. And, by our way of looking at it, we’d done nothing.
I got up this morning and told my bride “Merry Christmas” and didn’t give her a gift. It was the best gift I’d ever received.
I read the so-called “Christmas story” in Luke this morning. I tried to soak up all the small details that are usually overlooked in the bigger story. I think we miss alot. The details are rather overwhelming. That led me to Revelation, chapter 3. Wow! Whole different perspective.
A cup of coffee with the back door open and light rain falling.
A pleasant meal with my folks and siblings.
Yep. I think I finally experienced what a “merry little Christmas” can really be.