Home for Christmas

Dr. Steven J. Callis

Walter Kent composed the music for the Kim Gannon lyrics, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Bing Crosby was the first to record the song in 1943, and the single eventually reached #3 on the song charts. In December 1944, the Crosby recording was released by the U.S. War Department, and it touched the lives and hearts of America, soldiers and civilians alike.

The music composition easily fits that era and the solemn, somber spirit of the days during WWII. Longing to be home with family was a dream that many soldiers would merely have to dream, knowing that it would not be a reality that year. Saying “thank you” hardly seems adequate for those individuals who, then and now, will not be gathering around the Christmas tree with family this year, but instead are putting their lives on the line for “the folks back home,” but we offer a prayerful thanks, nonetheless.

I realize how blessed I was (and am) to be heading home for Christmas. If I had composed the music for that song, it would have included a banjo, guitars, fiddles, drums, harmonicas – – it would have been an up-tempo celebration of excitement. Even as a father with young children, I felt giddy deep inside as the car drew near enough to hear the Christmas carols of my favorite radio station from my home town.

Nostalgic feelings would flood my mind as we entered familiar territory, with landscapes and buildings and highways that once were my stomping grounds. It felt good to be home, sometimes finding the opportunity to reconnect with friends from the past.

Mom and Dad are in heaven now. Our children have grown and are out on their own. Two of the three never lived in Douglasville with us, so the only giddy they might feel at all is in seeing their parents. As for me? Well, I am a home-body. I like sleeping in my own bed, enjoying the freedom to raid the fridge and cabinets, relaxing in my recliner, watching Christmas programming on television; I like being home.

And with these necessary and expected changes over the years, I still get those giddy feelings inside. However, these days they are not centered so much around familiar places and precious memories. No, they come about as we near the town where our children live, or as their anticipated arrival time in our driveway approaches. Either way, that is when my childhood memories are replaced by memories of their childhoods, and in my heart I am still rocking them to sleep, reading stories to them, riding bikes, going to school plays, attending music recitals, and cheering for them at ball games.

I have grown into the reality that home truly is where the heart is. Wherever we choose to gather with them this year, I know I’ll be home. Let those giddy feelings begin!

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One Comment on “Home for Christmas”

  1. Ccallis Says:

    You made me cry! Congratulations!

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