Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light. Next year all our troubles will be out of sight. Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Make the yuletide gay. Next year all our troubles will be miles away. Once again as in olden days, happy golden days of yore, faithful friends who are dear to us will be near to us once more. Someday soon we all will be together if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow. So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
This is the song I have been planning to do, but have faced with a good bit of trepidation. You see, it is my second favorite Christmas song of all time. But it also hits extremely close to home.
It was written for the 1944 movie-musical, Meet Me In St. Louis. A movie about the city in which I grew up. Judy Garland was the first to sing it in that film, and Frank Sinatra was first to record it in the years that followed.
In addition to the connection to home, this song also reminds me that Christmas holds a great deal of sadness. Yes, I am overjoyed and filled with excitement as I watch my two-year-old twin sons begin to experience the magic of Christmas. However, tomorrow (Christmas Eve) marks the sixth anniversary of my Dad’s passing from this life. And this song was always my mother’s ringtone this time of year (and she passed three Octobers ago).
The beauty of this song comes from its original intention. Garland is singing to her little sister to comfort her as their entire world is about to change. They are about to move away from the only home they have ever known and be separated from friends and loved ones. And she sings this song of comfort while knowing in her heart that their troubles are only about to get worse.
Here is the truth: when life gets difficult, often all we can do is muddle.
Sinatra’s lyrics tempered this reality a bit and made it much more traditional Christmas-dreamy. But something was lost when he did.
We look for the joy, the beauty, the light even in the hardest of times. We long for Christmas to represent the wonder it could, if only the world were easier. But until everything is set right, this song offers us the chance to embrace the hot mess that is so many of our lives.
There are tears of happiness mixed with tears of sadness during this season. And this song honors them both well. So enjoy the original of this song and hold tight to all your loved ones.
And keep calm. Just keep muddling.
Lessons & Carols – Of the Father’s Love Begotten