Music ‘n Musings

Home is at the heart of the holiday season


I love listening to Christmas music. I always have. Listening to Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” while watching big, fluffy snowflakes fall through my picture window has a magical quality to it that few other genres can claim. Not only is Christmas music extremely varied as a genre, with traditional songs, jazz, classical and pop music all wrapped up together to form the perfect festive blend, but the songs themselves have an immense depth that adds to the warmth of the holiday season.

One of the most resonant songs of the holiday season is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby. A Christmas classic, it was written in 1943 at the height of World War II from the perspective of a soldier overseas pining for home. Its trademark melancholy but hopeful lyrics and slow melody evoke a sense of longing and match the heartache of separation felt by soldiers and civilians alike during those war years.

The song is full of humanity, which is what I think makes it so endearing and timeless. It strikes a chord with the loneliness in the hearts of humans across the world, both in 1943 and today. War is chaos, and sometimes the only thing that keeps morale up is the prospect of going home, where “snow and mistletoe / and presents on the tree” take on a whole new meaning.

This song has taken on a new meaning for me this year. This is my last Christmas at home before being thrust into adulthood and college life. This time next year, I’ll be nearing the end of my first semester of college. I won’t be living at home any more, which means I won’t be able to be there for the putting up of the Christmas tree and decorations, and I won’t be able to spend as much time with my family. While in no way comparable to the plight of a soldier overseas, the idea of this big change is still sobering.

But just like it gave hope to the soldiers and their families, it gives me hope as well. No matter how far away college takes me, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

The heart of the holiday season is being surrounded by loved ones, and even if Christmas looks a little different next year, it doesn’t matter as long as I am able to be with the people I love most. Home is “where the love light gleams.” Even when life gets hard, and loneliness rears its ugly head, I can still cherish the love and light that Christmas brings, and know that “I’ll be home for Christmas / if only in my dreams.”