I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love Christmas music. I’ve been playing the heck out of my vinyl since getting that turntable at the beginning of the season, and rediscovering some less popular ones that haven’t been heard (at least by me) since the Christmases of my childhood.
I remember, when I was little, thinking how funny it was that there was a Christmas song about palm trees swaying. Mele Kalikimaka was recorded by Bing Crosby on my favorite of his seasonal albums, and I learned every word. Now, as I’ve been listening to other albums, I realized that it wasn’t the only one on this topic. There is also Christmas Island. It hit me all at once, like a blow to the head, that these were likely written for those serving in the Pacific Theater during WWII, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I’d known this about I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and White Christmas, but did you know that Happy Holidays, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and The Christmas Song were also all written for the soldiers serving there, and in all other WWII conflicts around the world?
So much of our holiday celebration is shaped by that time in history, and the people who lived it. “The Greatest Generation,” as they’re known, who sacrificed until it hurt (and sometimes beyond), gave us not only our Christmas Song Book, but preserved our freedom to celebrate it however we want. The gifts they gave us during the Christmases of the early 40’s are ones we open every single day as we breath deep the free air of democracy, and stand, unencumbered, on our blood-soaked Bill of Rights. They are among some of our most precious gifts, and ones we dare not take for granted lest future generations stand in chains, their rights only a page in a dusty history book.
I find myself, this week before Christmas, feeling festive, certainly, but patriotic, too. To those who made the sacrifice back then, I humbly thank you for the American life you’ve allowed me to enjoy. And to those who are currently serving and sacrificing to maintain it, it is with deep thanks and sincerity I pray you’ll Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
You richly deserve it.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV
“A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:8 ESV
“May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!” Psalm 29:11 NIV