It’s Christmas week and I look for hope

By Don Rush

It’s here. Christmas week and despite all that happened a few weeks ago, I will look for hope. It’s the season of hope that propels me to tap, tap, tippity-tap, tap on my keyboard. For so long it didn’t feel like the Christmas season and then it snowed on Saturday — about three inches of the cold, white stuff and my attitude started to change. My frozen emotions began to thaw.
Alone in a home I didn’t own, I started walking down the paths of my past, looking back at Christmases long gone. For the Rush Clan Christmases really weren’t about getting gifts. Sure, my sisters and I sat down and circled our “wish list” items in the K-mart, Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs, but we didn’t expect much. One year I got a record player. One year I got socks; another year I got socks and some screwdrivers!
When you don’t expect much, everything’s groovy.
Religion aside, Christmases were really for our extended families to get together. To sing. To laugh and hug. To love one another and to be thankful for those we still had to hug. It was a time to remember with fondness and smiles those we no longer could physically touch — only remember.
Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth, we knew was a season of hope, even if we had lost or if we had valid reasons for bitterness. It’s the season of goodwill and love versus anger or spite. As the days of this year dwindle down to next year, during this season (if only for short moments of time) hug those you love, sing with them, laugh and cry with them. Find hope in one another.
* * *
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day and the song that kept on playing in my head this past weekend (Frank Sinatra version). I reckon the reason my subconscious thought about it so much was the same reason I started thinking of Christmas again. I believe it was just waking up to snow on the ground and clinging to the trees. I went online because I wanted to know more about the song. Here’s what I found out. Did you know the song was written on Christmas Day, 1864 by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Interestingly, this poem was penned when Americans fought and killed one another during the Civil War.
How could that be? In the midst of all the death and turmoil, how could this man find hope in his soul to put these beautiful words together? And, if he could, couldn’t I, too? If you haven’t heard the song, or have not read the poem, please do and maybe these words will resonate with you the way they do me.

* * *
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

* * *
Merry Christmas to everyone and as Tiny Tim could have said, “God bless you one and all.”
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