“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” / 6 Months of Marriage

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” isn’t my favorite Christmas song; that esteemed honor belongs to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by a wide margin.  But they share similar musical DNA.  They’re each melancholy in a way that stirs up both joy and longing in your heart, and they each seem to have trouble believing what they say.  I listen to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in its best iterations, and I hear people who desperately want to be home for the holidays, but they know deep down that it’s not going to happen.  Why something this depressing fills me with joy is confusing, to say the least, but maybe it’s because so few songs capture the spirit and disappointment of Christmas so perfectly, or because other Christmas songs feel so superficial.  This one really gets what it’s like to love people and long to spend time with them.

“I’ll be home for Christmas,
You can plan on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree.”

“I’ll Be Home” doesn’t mention Jesus, of course, but it points me to Him in ways that songs about the nativity or songs based on Scripture simply can’t.  A song like “I’ll Be Home” is an apt reminder of the disappointments of Christmas.  Every year, I anticipate Christmas with something resembling an overexcited chihuahua’s tremblings and spasms, though I usually manage to keep this excitement from boiling over into actual tremblings and spasms.  But every year, without fail, Christmas fails to live up to my expectations.  “I’ll Be Home” knows this all too well; the perfect Christmas is only in my dreams.  It most definitely doesn’t exist here on Earth.  I can listen to “I’ll Be Home” and remember that this isn’t my true home.  I can listen to “I’ll Be Home” and rejoice, because the best Christmas is yet to come, when I can celebrate with my Savior.

“Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams.
I’ll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.”

This is the first Christmas that I won’t be with my parents and my sister in Plano, Texas.  If you’re wondering why, let me point you back six months ago.  On June 23rd, I married the love of my life; her name was Vicky Vargas and is now Vicky Bumgarner.  We’ll be spending our Christmas together with our new puppy, Winnie Bumgarner, in Norman, Oklahoma.  Norman, for now, is where we live; Vicky and Winnie are my home.  It will be weird to be away from Plano, away from my family, but the past six months have made it worth it.  It may not be “the perfect Christmas”, but I’ll be home.  And I thank God, knowing that it’s His grace that has made it so.

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