Just hearing that old Christmas song brings a feeling of joy to my heart. Memories of so many past wonderful Christmas times spent with family and some that were spent far away from home, but always there was a Christmas in my heart.
I remember being in the Phillipines on my way to Viet Nam a long, long time ago, a young man in search of adventure and the meaning of Christmas was totally different back then. Then one spent with my Dad and Step Mom where we made ornaments from scratch, that was another different feeling. And of course, many Christmas days of watching happy children tear apart gifts with great glee and surprise.
But Christmas 1984 might be my favorite as it was my first as a Christian and with the full meaning of it fresh in my mind I remember the joy I felt knowing this was the day Christ was born, this was our redeemer coming to earth. It was less about Santa and gifts and more about the relief that I had come home to where God wanted me to be.
In the years that followed I can think of memories that will last a lifetime as I am sure you will as well. This year I will be home in ATL for Christmas but it will not be quite the same for our family, as the loss of Paul has tempered our feelings and if it were not for a whole bunch of kids, well, you can imagine how we would feel.
Christmas Eve I will take that same ride back as I took a few months ago when Paul passed, alone but always with a cell phone to share my thoughts with friends. However, I will have with me a great present, the voice mail of him calling me last Christmas with the excitement of the gifts he received in his voice, so full of life and joy. You can be sure I will listen to it often.
And if I hear that song again on the way back, I will know that my son is home for Christmas, just in a different location than he was last year. We will still hang his stocking up, still laugh about the good times, and he will be with us, as we recite the words from that song, "if only in our dreams".
Love you pal, Merry Christmas!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.