Throughout December, reminders of the holidays captivate our senses. We marvel at the sights of dazzling twinkling lights, relish in the smell of freshly baked cookies and hum along to tunes we remember from our childhood. For me, the sounds of the Christmas season have always been my favorite.
As a young child, I remember listening to songs about a magical snowman, and a one horse open sleigh. But as an adult, I find myself drawn to musical themes which many times parallel the realities during this time of year.
One example came to me while driving on a roadway lightly covered with the season’s first snowfall. It was called Home On Christmas Day. One of the truest sounds of the Christmas season.
The song was penned by talented songwriters Jay Landers and Walter Afanasieff and sung beautifully by Broadway and television star Kristin Chenoweth.
With a haunting orchestration and lyrics overflowing with poignancy, the song navigates you through the often painful truth of celebrating the holidays without someone you love. From the song:
And now I promise you, with all my heart this Christmas
That all the love we shared, will never go away
Your spirit’s everywhere, and I hope you know
That you are always here, home on Christmas day
Home amplifies what this writer believes the true meaning of the holidays should be – a celebration of the lives we are so fortunate to be surrounded by.
The holidays exemplify loneliness
No one is spared the grief and heartache of losing someone we care for deeply. The holidays exemplify that feeling of loss as we remember the traditions, the laughter and the love those cherished individuals once brought to our lives.
It’s a place in our hearts, which can never be filled by material possessions eliciting a temporary feeling of happiness – regardless of how hard many of us continue to try.
For years I’ve protested the over-the-top gift giving our society supports as an integral part of the Christmas season. We assume that “gifts” are only comprised of tangible items one can hold in their hands and assign status or value to.
But for anyone whose heart aches over a noticeable absence during this time of year, they would probably relinquish all their worldly possessions just to spend one more day with someone who remains alive and well only in their hearts.
I remember reading the book and watching the animated cartoon as a child, but my lack of experience in the world prevented me from seeing just how vital its message truly was.
Towards the end of the tale the narrator proclaims:
“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”
The holidays are a time for celebrating and remembering. The story of the Grinch has been teaching generations that the fanfare and the gifts are simply irrelevant; it is the amazing people you find yourself surrounded with who provide us with the greatest gifts.
Maybe one day we’ll all come to the realization that those individuals whose “presence” we often take for granted are the only “presents” that really matter in life. Only then will the true meaning of the holidays find its way home on Christmas Day.