Dec 19, 2017 / Songs


There’s nothing like foggy mornings, twinkling Christmas lights, and the smell of a warm cup of coffee to bring out my inner musings. While scent may be the strongest sense tied to memory I think music is most closely tied to emotion. Last year I dove into Silent Night and the depth of meaning that song has had for me for years.

This year, the song Snow by Sleeping at Last has been my song of choice to reflect on another year in the books. (Georgia fittingly just got it’s first snowfall before Christmas that I can remember in my lifetime so it seems appropriate.)

Several songs by this author have spoken to me in such deep ways. The lyrics run deep telling my story of struggling to know if I’m enough, and learning to be vulnerable.


Our families huddle closely
Betting warmth against the cold
But our bruises seem to surface
Like mud beneath the snow

We all desire closeness but we’re all broken. Some families suffer through divorces and split Christmasses for the kids. Other bruises surface through the loss of loved ones. For most of us, there’s just general bumps and bruises that come with family.

The table is set and our glasses are full
Though pieces go missing, may we still feel whole
We’ll build new traditions in place of the old
’cause life without revision will silence our souls

Traditions bring expectations and expectations that aren’t met always lead to resentment. It’s sad to see traditions fail and it’s near impossible to let go of the things that we find most meaningful to us at Christmas.

I remember as a child the first years that married siblings wouldn’t be home for Christmas. It felt empty without them and every year that passes feels more and more different from the “whole family Christmasses” I remember from my childhood.

This year brings lots of new traditions for me. After 28 years of being home for Christmas Eve, my wife and I will be hosting her family this year. It will be bittersweet to not eat stroganoff by candlelight with my family but there is a new tradition being born…

I will get to wake up in my home with my wife for our first Christmas together! As much as I long to hold onto the old traditions I’m excited for the newness of this Christmas.

Like the petals in our pockets
May we remember who we are
Unconditionally cared for
By those who share our broken hearts

I absolutely love this line…mainly because of the mention of my all-time favorite Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life. Since I can’t find anyone patient enough to watch this movie with me I assume that most people don’t catch this reference.

In the movie, James Stewart’s character George Bailey is given the chance to see what his life would be like if he were never born. He walks through the town he feels he’s let down by bankrupting his business and he sees a world where his brother died as a child, his wife never married, his children were never born, his mentor was sent to jail, and so many others were never helped by his generosity.

In the film’s pivotal scene, George is pleading to God for his life back on the bridge where he was contemplating suicide before his guardian angel stepped in. As he’s brought back into the “real world” he begins to see all of his troubles as blessings. He bursts into hysterical joy when he discovers his daughter Zuzu’s flower petals in his vest pocket…and he races home to the family who loves him unconditionally.

This line in the song reminds me of how much our families mean to us. Despite the bruises, despite the missing traditions, despite our broken hearts…we are unconditionally cared for by someone this Christmas!