Thu | Dec 5, 2019

Gordon Robinson | What Christmas means to me

Published:Tuesday | December 25, 2018 | 12:24 AMGordon Robinson

My hope for every reader is that you all woke up at home today. The eternal search for the true meaning of Christmas needn’t take long or venture far afield. The secret is right in front of you. It’s home. It’s family. It’s togetherness. That’s what Christmas means to me. There’s plenty religious focus on Christ’s birth, but the truth is, nobody knows when He was born and He didn’t apply for NIDS. But a celebration of His birth is an excellent launch pad for seeking the ideal of family gathering in one home to share, reminisce and reinforce the bond of love that’s family. If it means we must pretend Christ was born on December 25, so be it. At least once per year, find your way home, no matter how you get there, no matter how far away you are, no matter what it takes. I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love even more than I usually do and, although I know it's a long road back, I promise you I'll be home for Christmas You can count on me Please have snow and mistletoe And presents on the tree Every Christmas tradition (church; gifts; parties; Christmas dinners) is rooted in togetherness with family, friends and community. Those roots become a family tree whose branches reach out to cover many seasonal activities but, whether in body or spirit, it begins with the journey home. Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams. I'll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams. Once the core of the Christmas tree (family togetherness) is solid, settled and secure, its limbs deliver Christmas’ most satisfying fruit, namely benevolence. Happiness automatically produces the urge to share with those less fortunate, so we put something in the Salvation Army kettle, or make sure a Christmas Day worker gets a plate of Christmas dinner, or visit a friend or family member who may be shut in. If you can, help out today at a 'drop-in' shelter by serving meals or donating blankets. Then, tomorrow is the day for preparing box lunches from leftovers for the homeless without shelter or the indigent without family. That’s the tradition from which Boxing Day gets its name. After family, the most important meaning of Christmas is giving. Happiness with family, respect for all and indulgence at Christmas dinner can inspire you to save some for Boxing Day distribution. If you have little boys or girls, Santa will have visited them, rich or poor, whether down chimneys or through keyholes. He’d have left fancy or simple, hand-made toys magically proportionate to parents’ means. Even while making merry, the family will reflect on the manger where baby Christ was born and the angels who watched over Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Your family will remember the star that led three wise men from afar to the manger. Happiness, respect, indulgence, Santa, toys, manger, angels, star. Stick a 'C' before those initials and you have Christmas! I’ll be home for Christmas was written by Kim Gannon (lyrics) and Walter Kent (music) from the perspective of an American soldier (hence the request for 'snow' and 'mistletoe') posted overseas during World War II who could only travel home for Christmas metaphysically but wrote a letter to his parents promising them he’d be there “if only in my mind”. The song was recorded in 1943 by the legendary Bing Crosby and has become a popular Christmas standard. Jamaica’s own Boris Gardiner wrote 'The Meaning of Christmas', in which he cleverly assigned a separate word linked to the Christmas spirit to each letter. He recorded the song in 1972. Believe it or not, on January 13, Boris, who was diagnosed with tachycardia in high school, will be 76 years old. I wish for all my readers a happy and holy Christmas Day filled with family, friends, fun and sharing. Peace and love. Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.