I’ll be Home for Christmas
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943, tells the story of a soldier writing home while stationed abroad during World War II. He pleads for his family to have “mistletoe and presents by the tree” upon his hopeful return, knowing all along that Christmas this year will only come to life in the cold, hard bunk of his barracks, as he closes his eyes and dreams of a better place and a better time. “If only in my dreams” is a lyric that has transcended time, as old wars have ended and new ones begun, always reminding us of the courageous soldiers who have sacrificed every bit of who they are to defend our nation, especially at Christmastime. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a song dedicated to the fathers in uniform who won’t be home to dress as Santa Claus this Christmas Eve and the mothers of young children who will miss seeing the magic of Christmas in her child’s eyes, a magic that only lasts for so long. The song honors the ones left behind, the husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, grandparents, friends and neighbors holding the fort at home, praying for the safe return of their loved ones, perhaps even a Christmas miracle. And their sacrifice? It’s for you. It’s for me. It’s for our freedom.
This year, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” tells a different story. It tells the story of the millions of Americans, at home, who will spend Christmas alone. And not because they want to, but because their governors and mayors have obligated them to do so. Christmas is canceled due to COVID. It is now your moral duty to remain home. Skip that Christmas Mass at your local church, cancel your visit to Grandma’s, decline any holiday party that might make you feel human again. Apparently, nine months of lockdowns, shutdowns, mask directives and social distancing, haven’t done a thing to quell the spread, so let’s throw in a few more unconstitutional mandates to keep the tyranny going. In fact, according to the CDC, if you forgo their first guideline to “limit gatherings,” you are encouraged to eat outdoors. I guess catching pneumonia in the frigid cold is a small price to pay in stopping the spread of COVID. Wear masks, even in between bites, according to California governor Gavin Newsom, a request so ridiculous he himself chose to forgo wearing a mask as he wined and dined on “Oysters and Pearls” at the lavish French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. Or perhaps it was the Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Shank that made it worth tossing the mask aside. We’ll never know. But as for your holiday party, don’t forget to take down that mistletoe because social distancing is strictly enforced. And my personal favorite: cancel the carolers because singing is strongly discouraged. So is “chanting,” another fine constraint issued by none other than Governor Newsom. If you look up chanting in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you will find that includes “celebrating or praising in song.” Sure sounds a lot like prayer to me.
Keeping in mind all that is prohibited this holiday season, let’s have a look back at what has apparently been deemed safe and permissive these last few months. Riots, marches, lootings, protests, Black Lives Matter chants, and I’m sure a healthy dose of shouting along the way. In fact, at one point, tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Portland, Houston, New York City… the list goes on, all in the name of George Floyd. And these protests lasted more than a holiday dinner’s worth of time. They lasted from night into day into night again for months and months on end. Our cities were set on fire. Violence erupted and racial tensions were exacerbated. It is not a pretty picture to paint, but it is one we cannot forget in the face of these new, unprecedented restrictions placed on our nation, our neighborhoods, and our families, in the privacy of our own homes, no less, with the holidays just around the corner.
Now I must be clear: for some, especially those most at risk of COVID, staying home is the safer option. It is a sacrifice that does not go unnoticed, and for you, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” will mean more than it ever has. I think of you this year and wish you peace as you battle through these incredibly lonesome and difficult times, remembering the magic of the season in years past. But for those who choose to stay home because you have been made to believe that this is the “right” and “moral” thing to do, if fear has gotten the very best of you, I only ask that you consider if these sacrifices, these restrictions, are logical, rational, and more importantly are they worth it? Tomorrow is not promised to anyone — COVID or no COVID. Who is to say if next Christmas will be?
What it all really comes down to is choice and that choice stems from freedom, a freedom our soldiers look death straight in the eye to protect. May we never forget the sacrifice these men and women make to defend the freedoms our government officials are so recklessly taking away from us. These government issued mandates have crossed a line and crossed a sacred threshold into our homes. This is as slippery a slope as it gets. And so this year, I choose to spend Christmas with my family. I choose to walk through the streets of my local town, shop locally in-person, buy a big ham from my local meat market and turn the Christmas carols up on high. That is my choice, and it may not be yours and that’s okay. But that is the beauty of freedom. May we all have ourselves a Merry Little Christmas.