I need to see your face….

“Home” by Michael Buble and Blake Shelton

Another Christmas day
will come and go away
but I got so far to go
but I wanna go home
I need to go home

Maybe surrounded by
strangers and Christmas lights
I shouldn’t feel so alone
but I wanna go home
God, I miss you, you know

I can close my eyes and see the angel on the tree
a blanket of snow outside
and all my friends and family
and though I know that you’re no farther than a call away
I need to see your face
a call could never be the same

Another Christmas day
Will come and go away
And I won’t leave you alone
And I wanna go home
I’ve got to go home

Let me go home
I’m just to far from where you are
And I wanna go home

Now the reasons I’m so far away ain’t good enough
What ever they need me for
I know that I need you more
So I’ll do the things I got to do to get back to you
I need you to believe
I’ll make it back by Christmas Eve

Another Christmas day will come and go away
And I won’t leave you alone
No I’m gonna go home
I’m gonna be home
Though I’m surrounded by
This cold December night
I feel so alone
I’m gonna go home
Babe, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I’ve had my run, baby I’m done
I’m coming back home
Let me go home
It’ll all be alright
When I’m holding you tight
Cause this Christmas I’m home

These are the lyrics of a song entitled, “Home,” by Michael Buble and Blake Shelton.  For those of you who do not know who that is, I am sorry! They are two of my favorite singers.  This version is their Christmas version of songs they both made popular in their respective genres.  Michael Buble is the Bing Crosby of this era and is from Victoria, B.C. and Blake Shelton is a fantastic country singer who resides in Nashville, currently on “The Voice” on TV.  The fact that they are personal friends with each other,  just makes it that much more special.  I love having a DVR and because my male family members really didn’t want to watch a Michael Buble Christmas Special, I taped it for my own enjoyment. I could go on and on about what a great show it was (I loved Rod Stewart singing Christmas carols on there, and his duet with Michael) but that is not what I am blogging about.  So, on to it….

I bawled like a baby.  This song started it off and then song after song, I just cried.  I put it on for background music while I cleaned the house.  I did not get far (witness to the fact I am blogging and not cleaning) because I kept crying and crying.  Do you ever get one of those days when the least thing makes you cry?  Must be menopause!  Anyway, I kept thinking about my sons.  And their wives.  And their babies.  And then my father-in-law who died this past year.  Then I moved on to my parents…my brother….my sister-in-law and all her kids….and I just crumbled.  It seemed like each song was about missing loved ones during the holidays. If you think about it, almost all the old classics are about families seeing one another over Christmas (and yes, it is Christmas, not the Holidays, in all those songs, too!!) or missing one another over Christmas!  I chose to wipe my eyes and I sat up straight and said a few Jesus Prayers (Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) and then I threw in some Hail Mary’s (Hail Mary, full of grace, have mercy on me a sinner) and then I just asked, “Lord, help me put this into perspective and turn my grief into joy, because your Son was born.  That is what this is about.  Help me with my Martha-tendencies and let me be more Mary-like.”

And I found peace.  And guess what song I then was humming? The Kontakion of the Preparation (Tone 3):

Today the Virgin is on her way to the cave where she will give birth to the Eternal Word of God in an ineffable manner. Rejoice, therefore, O universe, when you hear this news, and glorify with the angels and the shepherds Him who shall appear as a newborn Babe, being God from all eternity.

This is a song, a Kontakion, that we sing repeatedly at Divine Liturgy, in preparation for Christmas. What is a Kontakion?  Well, here you go:

A “kontakion” is a poetic form frequently encountered in Byzantine hymnography.  It could best be described as a “sermon in verse accompanied by music”.   The main body of a kontakion was chanted from the ambo by a cleric (often a deacon; otherwise a reader) after the reading of the Gospel, while a choir, or even the whole congregation, joined in the refrain.

And I derived such peace from thinking, or pondering, over these events.  As I rush around, in preparation to welcome my Mother-in-law, brother-in-law, two uncles, an aunt, and 4 dogs (all the while missing my sons and daughters-in-law and grandbabies) I am reminded of the preparation of Mary and Joseph.  In this week, back in 0 B.C., they were ordered to leave all that was familiar to them – and all their family and friends – to obey the Roman law and have themselves counted in the census, in Joseph’s home town. This Woman was 9 months pregnant with the Son of God, and was traipsing through the Middle East on the back of a donkey, sleeping under the stars at night. They get to Bethlehem (Bethlehem (לֶחֶם בֵּית ) “house of bread,” which I totally love – nothing in Scripture is accidental)  and find only a stable available.  She is in labor and she has to crawl into a farmer’s “cave” or “stable.”  Some traditions (and common to the era) hold that it was a cave, dug into the side of a hill, because it would have been the safest place for animals; cool in summer’s heat, and warm in winter’s chill. Nevertheless, Mary and Joseph are housed with animals, while the Mother of God labors to bring forth “God from all eternity.”

Mary and Joseph did not know that they would never return home; that Joseph would be asked to protect the Son of God from death by Herod, and that they would flee directly to Egypt.  And yes, I still miss my children and my grandchildren, and sometimes the missing is an actual aching.  But I am in my warm home, surrounded by my things (especially all the ornaments my children have chosen over the years) and all the decorations and lights.  My husband is employed (thanks be to God) and we are not jobless or homeless, nor are we burying our babes (as in CT).  There is so much to be grateful for.  And when I think of the sacrifice the Holy Family made for ME (because Christ came for each one of us, on a personal level) in order to fulfill the Word of God, I am humbled. I can wipe my tears and the ache recedes a little bit; and I can cling to my memories of Christmases past, when my babes were small and I smile. I know, deep in my heart, I am so very blessed.  And even though, as in the lyrics, “I need to see your face;” the face of my children and grandchildren, I can ponder instead the face of God, reposing with His Mother Mary, the Mother of God, and St. Joseph, in the Cave!  I will ponder Him Who is the “Eternal Word of God” and I can, therefore, rejoice with the angels and the shepherds, “God from all Eternity.”


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