I'm sitting here looking over the lines of a poem that I wrote a few years ago when Christmas was heavy on my heart. I was longing for Christmas like it used to be ... simple and unadorned.
A season of expectation - with results. A carefree time, with no problems, issues, concerns. A time when it was the one event we looked forward to throughout the entire year. Christmas ... at home.
The problem was, there was no home anymore. My parents had divorced, and the farm had been sold. And the more I considered that, the deeper my thoughts went about all the things that made Christmas at home what it was, all those many years ago.
The following lines came to me at bedtime on Nov. 30, 1994. I had already turned out the light and settled in when these lines of poetry just began to flow. I knew I had to get up and write them down. They bespoke what was on my heart late that night, and even still today.
I'm going home for Christmas
But only in my mind,
Because, you see, the home place
Is impossible to find.
The farm's still there where it's always been,
Though nothing looks the same,
So going home for Christmas
Is really just a game ...
I don't know why I keep playing it,
For it truly makes me sad
To think the times that used to be
Can never more be had.
It seems the snows were deeper then;
Snow cover was the purest white.
It served as the perfect mirror,
Reflecting the Christmas lights.
The smell of pine was in the house
From the tree we cut ourselves,
And pine was hung around the door,
Leaving need for little else.
I see my sister as we played
The year the bride dolls matched.
(We'd found them hidden in the closet
Where Santa had them stashed.)
Anticipation on Christmas Eve
Is almost forgotten now,
How we would whisper into the night,
Just couldn't go to sleep somehow!
I'd like to go back on Christmas
And walk once more through the house,
But nothing there would be the same;
The mem'ries have all been let out.
Our family is no longer living there;
Mother and Daddy have both gone on.
So, if I went back for Christmas,
I'd find that I didn't belong ...
No, I can't go home for Christmas,
From home I did long depart.
I must find a new Christmas
And kindle it in my heart.
After writing these lines, I came to realize that home, without those who tended things there, is no longer home. "Home" was not to ever be like it was.
I knew that I must let it all go, be ever so grateful for the store of memories, and make Christmas right where I am.