At my age, of course, you have no choice but to accept the increasingly obtrusive presence of death in your life. The fact that it has come so often around Christmastime, though, is a thing I find hard to tolerate. Something had to give, and what gave was my ability to celebrate Christmas. It’s not entirely gone: I still love A Christmas Carol, Meet Me in St. Louis, and all the wonderful seasonal songs. But there is no tree in my home, nor is my heart light, and both of these things were true last year as well.
I suspect that’s why my favorite Christmas song is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which speaks forthrightly of the sadness that so many people feel at this time of year, perhaps never more so than in 2020:Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
As it happens, I’m muddling through surprisingly well—I feel much better than I did a couple of months ago—but I know the next couple of months will inevitably be full of sadness. So if you incline the same way, try to keep on muddling the best way you know how, and hold in your bruised heart the second line of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.
May it be so, and may love get us all from here to there in one piece.
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James Taylor sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on NBC’s Sunday Today in 2016: