Christmas Stories: Day 24
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This song stirs me.
My first thought goes directly to the last scene of Its A Wonderful Life, wherein the crowd of friends and family and even bankers all gathered to celebrate the new year and the fact that Jimmy Stewart’s character is still alive are gladly singing the timeless melody and swaying their champagne flutes, and the little girl makes the comment about bells and angels getting their wings and then the viewers realize that the angel who just got his wings is Clarence.
This reminds me of my childhood. How my mom always makes us sit together and watch the movie when it comes on NBC only once a year. How excited she gets. How my Dad pretends to be uninterested and clangs around in the kitchen doing the dishes while we are all gathered together watching and laughing and everyone yells DAD!! all at the same time because we are in the middle of the part where Jimmy Stewart meets his wife at the library but she doesn’t recognize him because it’s some other dimension of time where he gets a glimpse at what would really have happened had he not been born.
Somehow I think my dad always gets a kick out of that.
But then I listen to the actual lyrics, which people do not often listen to closely…
It’s a song about life, troubles, difficulty, and old friends, and old memories.
It’s about broken relationships, old girlfriends, old teachers, holding hands in the seventh grade, staying up late at night talking on the phone. It’s about kindness. It’s about being kind to one another because we all remember good old times that are broken and fading in our minds, but want them to remain no matter how futile the effort.
Standing in a room of people singing this song doesn’t really happen often (or ever), and no one really knows the words, and no one is really ever that sentimental.
But we all wish we were that sentimental. We all wish we could put our arms around each other, totally sober, clear eyed and crying, and sing these words into each others eyes with all honesty and truth and love. Glancing around the room and smiling at all the people who mutually love and forgive each other for everything.
I’ll not write out the lyrics here, because I want people to listen to them for themselves, and find that they sing them alone in the car on their way home from work. Quietly wondering if they will ever have one of these moments with their very own loved ones around the Christmas tree and the piano and the eggnog bowl, with the snow coming in the door in bursts along with the late comers whose cars don’t have front wheel drive or chains on the tires.
Maybe then, this song will stir you, too.
Jacob is a photographer in Little Rock. He and his wife Micaiah have three kids and several backyard chickens. He loves the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, and sitting around the campfire with friends.
You can find him online at jacobslaton.com.