Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Anyway

18 Dec

Do you have happy memories of Christmas or sad? Which do you pull out of the past?

Many ACONs have sad memories of Christmas and despite what people might think they are usually not sad over not having enough gifts–more like sadness over raging parents and family fights and emotional abuse. My own sad memories are related to Christmas music classics.

I remember the December when I was ten. It was getting close to Christmas, we were poor, but we never realized it because we were young enough to just love all the music, treats and lights of the season. The song “We need a Little Christmas” was playing on the record player and we kids were dancing and hopping around the room on sofa cushions scattered across the floor.

Have-Yourself-WM

My mom was making pancakes and dancing while she waited to flip her pancake. We rarely saw her dance. With a spatula in one hand, to four kids under eleven, it looked hilarious. It was a happy moment until my dad came crashing through the door and yelled, “Turn that down.”

My siblings immediately ran to the bedroom and I ran over and lifted the needle on the record player. The silence was only broken by him looking for a screwdriver. Then he went back to the garage and the house remained silent. That moment defines my saddest Christmas memory. And believe me there were many years we went without presents or a tree. I have decided one can live without trees and presents, but living without joy is heart wrenching.

Every year, no matter where I am, when I hear Christmas Classics like Bing Crosby or Nate King Cole–it doesn’t matter that I can acknowledge the music as beautiful, if I listen for long, a deep melancholy settles over my soul. It all goes back to my bubble of joy that burst that December day in 1974.

Some people might say, “Wow! Get over it already!” And I truly wish I could. I have no animosity toward my father for this–to be fair this was the first Christmas after his mother died. Who knows all the struggles he felt as a young father. No, I don’t hold grudges and I never blame him, but what happens in childhood, never stays in childhood. The memories of other times he punished me for listening to music are all echoes of that one moment in time. My legs stinging from the belt only added fear to my depression.

I’ve been told to re-frame the sad stuff and that helps. Re-framing can take a number of turns; it might be new traditions, new family and friends or new music. For me, part of re-framing is accepting my parents have different tastes and ways to look at life than I do. I don’t think it makes either of us bad–just different. I have had to re-frame nearly everything I once thought about Christmas.

A few years ago, I re-framed one of the most beautiful Christmas songs by rewriting it with words that mean something to me. I’m excited to have one of the most amazing singers in town to sing it this week at church. (Thanks Whitney!)

If your parents don’t embrace who you are or still try to form you into their mold, re-frame the pain and have yourself a merry little Christmas anyway!

Here are my reframed words:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Look beyond the lights
Take some time to think about that starry night

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Just in case you’re blue
Whether you’ve been good or bad—God cares for you

Can’t you see that the greatest gift that the world has ever known
Was the gift of Emmanuel—God with us, His love now shown

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Send your cares away
Give your heart and soul to him who hears you pray

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Think what God has done
He loved so much, He sent to us His only Son

He sent Him not to condemn us–but to give us better days
He came to show us the Father and to teach God’s loving ways.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Put your toys away
Stop and think about the awesome price He paid
And give your heart to the Savior of the world today.
-Cherilyn Clough

6 Responses to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Anyway”

  1. Anita Lang December 19, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    Those words are so beautiful, Cherie – very meaningful – thank you!

    ANITA

  2. Kylea December 19, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    I love this. I would like to talk with you some more. This is what I’m constructing in Australia. Art as therapy, dance and drumming as well. We need to talk. Your work is beautiful. I imagine your heart has healed a lot. X

  3. Cherilyn Clough December 19, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Thank you Anita! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  4. Cherilyn Clough December 19, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Thank you Kylea! Yes, I find great healing in both writing and art. I heard a comment once that said we are closest to God when we create, because we were created in God’s image and God is the ultimate creative. I would say that He designed us to move and share and tell our stories in whatever ways we are inspired to do so. Thank you for stopping by, I would love to chat with you! I have been to Australia years ago and I loved it! 🙂

  5. Tanya Poling December 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing, It brings strength to others to get through their own memories and feelings. You have a blessed Christmas!

  6. Cherilyn Clough December 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Thank you, Tanya! Christmas blessings on you!

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