I love classic Christmas songs. I always have. Sometimes what is old and comfortable is new again and finds new meaning.
I am writing this in the beginning of December and I am a VERY long way from home.
I am living and working in the beautiful country of Switzerland. Christmas markets are popping up in every town. Snow is falling. A truly amazing place for Christmas. But I am without my family.
The other day I was doing some planning and I put on my Christmas playlist for some background music. Bing Crosby’s version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on. It was as if it was the first time I had ever heard it. The emotional response was deep.
According to Wikipedia it was originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmas time. The song is sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed overseas during World War II, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family he will be coming home and to prepare the holiday for him, and requests snow, mistletoe, and presents on the tree. The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams”
Magglingen Switzerland is a long way from anything that resembles a war zone and I am surrounded by wonderful people. Unfortunately I am just not near the ones I am closest to in my life.
I originally was supposed to be in Colorado this weekend for a family vacation. Our daughter and her boyfriend live there. Our son and his girlfriend were joining my wife and I. A new covid variant was detected and travel restrictions were put in place that prevented me from being able to join them.
The gymnasts I work with here found out about this and got in contact with my wife and kids. My family recorded videos letting me know I was loved. The affections I felt from my gymnasts was immeasurable. As they showed me they video, they let me know that I did have family here. They may not be the family I was born with or created. But the family that I made along the way.
During line up before morning training they presented me with the video.
I will be going home for Christmas and I look forward to the time with my family there. But While I am there- I will miss my gymnastics family here.
To my Team Suisse Gymnasts. Thank You. I love you
In 1943 the chaplain on the Battleship North Carolina knew that the crew was feeling homesick as they were expected to still be overseas during the holiday season. He had an idea and collected $5 from every crew member that had children back home.
The chaplain made a list of all that gave him money for their children at home and he sent that money along with the addresses of the sailor’s home to Macy’s department store. The request was made for Macy’s to buy gifts using the money provided for the crew’s family and have the gift mailed to their homes in time for Christmas.
As Christmas approached, the service men on the ship gathered for the annual Christmas show that involved songs, skits and entertainment for the troops aboard the Battleship North Carolina. When the entertainment had ended, the chaplain had a surprise to reveal.
When Macy’s received the money from the chaplain along with the list of the addresses, they thought that in addition to just giving gifts to these military families at home, they should give a one of a kind gift to the soldiers as well. Since they had the addresses for all the sailors homes, they reached out to each family and asked if they wanted to come to the Macy’s store and send a special message to their loved one who would not be able to be home for Christmas.
The men aboard the Battleship North Carolina sat there and saw their wives, children and loved ones appear before them on the screen as Macy’s had videoed each of their families sending them a Christmas message. These rugged sailors watched, wept and rejoiced.