By the time you are reading this the 2018 Christmas season will almost be over. All the hustle and holiday craziness are now behind us for another year as we finish the last of the leftovers, take down the tree, and pack up the ornaments and decorations.
Along with the memories of this past yuletide is that of an amazing season of kindness and generosity that we saw through the Eblen Charities St. Nicholas Project, The Ingles Toy Store and Magical Christmas Toy Drive, the Smoky Mountain Toy Run, and the dozens of other Christmas outreaches and programs that served thousands of children in our community.
There is no doubt that Christmas and holiday time is western North Carolina at our best.
This year as Christmas songs permeated the airwaves one particular song seemed to catch my attention more than in years past. It certainly has been one of my favorites since I first remembering hearing it in high school but never appeared to get as much airplay as Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Ertha Kit, and Mariah Carey. The song is Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas”.
First released in 1966 and written by Ron Miller and Bryan Wells the message and sentiments of the song resonate as much today if not more than it did fifty years ago. Much like John Lennon’s 1972 hit “Happy Christmas” the song not only brings a vision of a world without conflict during the Vietnam War, but also calls upon us to look to and build a world in which no one is hungry, and love and peace triumph.
And five decades later we are still looking and hoping for the same thing. In those fifty years we have advanced so far in medicine, technology, and so many other fields, but in spite of all of that our hearts have still remained the same.
Some of the most poignant lyrics read:
“Someday at Christmas we’ll see a man
No hungry children, no empty hand
One happy morning people will share
Our world where people care”
I believe that we can get so much closer to that “someday at Christmas” by holding fast to that part of our hearts that so much of the generosity and kindness flowed this holiday season. The part that compelled us to give to those we love and to so many that we have never met but know are less fortunate and are facing difficult times.
We can reach that “someday at Christmas” so much sooner by remembering that hunger doesn’t end after our presents are opened and that loneness doesn’t disappear when our holiday lights are taken down. But remembering that is only where we begin.
The spirit we shared this Christmas and holiday season should not end the day after Christmas, in fact it does not have to end at all.
The peace and joy that so many of us experience during the holiday season can easily be part of our lives throughout the year. There is no need to wait until next December to feel the happiness that we experienced these past few weeks.
“Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Hate will be gone love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart”
Here is where the new world that Stevie Wonder sang about can start. The hope that resides in nearly every heart can only last for so long.
As President John F. Kennedy once noted that “hope makes a good breakfast but a poor supper.”
“Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life’s really worth
There’ll be peace on earth”
This is where true peace on Earth begins, not at the bargaining table, but in how we treat those who are in most need of our love and kindness.
This year let us all commit ourselves to this being the beginning of a new era where “men will not fail and love will prevail” and find the love we found this Christmas and share our kindness with those who need it most- those who are facing troubled and difficult times.
The song ends with the lyrics:
“Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime
Someday at Christmastime”
Let us change our story as this year comes to an end and 2017 begins. And I am sure that Ron Miller, Bryan Wells, and the great Stevie Wonder won’t mind if we change the final line in their song to ‘This year at Christmastime.”
“This year at Christmastime…”