The year was 1944.
The United States alone was well on its way to 419,400 total deaths from World War II with more than 407,000 being active-duty military personnel.
Things would be different next Christmas.
What to do about THAT Christmas...... during a time when soldiers were deployed and families separated? Sacrifices were being made by everyone. Goods were being rationed. Christmas gifts were most likely to be war bonds saved in someone else’s name. Nothing big appeared under the trees within our American homes. And over 330,000 of our fellow Americans had already died because of the war being raged around the world.
There would be precious little that Christmas of 1944. It would be hard to all be together that year. Because of the war, thousands more including some acquaintances, friends, even family, would die each day for many days to come. "What's to celebrate?" many must have asked!!
A songwriter named Hugh Martin was contracted to create a song for the upcoming movie, “Meet Me In St. Louis,” starring Judy Garland. She would sing the song, a kind of melancholic ode to the future Christmases ahead “if the fates allow.” But “until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.”
It’s what Mary & Joseph did on that original Christmas. Mary was away from her family at a time when she may have needed them more than ever before. She was about to have herself a merry little Christ. Nothing like what she might have expected as a first-time Mom dreamily celebrating with family and friends surrounding. Wasn’t the way she dreamt it or ever would’ve planned for herself. She and Joseph would have to muddle through somehow.
That was the original Christmas. The one we are tasked with remembering today. The one we’re invited to all share in. And the one that reminds us that the future will be bigger and better because today we make light. We make little. We muddle through somehow. Alongside that little family of Bethlehem with the brighter future in store.
Merry Christmas 2020. And do have yourself A MERRY little CHRISTMAS!
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Let your heart be light From now on Our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Make the Yule-tide gay From now on Our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days Happy golden days of yore Faithful friends who are dear to us Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together If the fates allow Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow And have yourself a merry little Christmas now