Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas, 2013

Greetings, Friends and Fellow Seekers,
    It’s been another extraordinary year and I could easily fill up all the white space on this page with tales of my exploits. Now that’s exploits not sexpl … well, anyhow you get the idea. However, I’m going to keep it brief and just touch on some of the biggies for yours truly this past year in order of their appearance – New Year’s Eve with Singapore Slingers, Captain Fantasm /Pocket Sandwich Theater (piano), My Wilshire concert featuring a whole bunch of talented folks doing my music (Yes, Virginia there is a CD of it), Jester’s annual show, Jim Rivers memorial birthday party, Robin Hood Melodrama (2 songs), Las Vegas, Me and Marilyn on my birthday, Breckenridge Village in Tyler, Winnsboro Kiddz on Stage, Wilshire Winds concert (Celebration of Freedom, my piece), New England trip, Tom McWhorter party, Denver trip incl. Operation Christmas Child stint, Wilshire Winds Christmas concert (If Every Day Were Like Christmas Day, my song), New England revisited on the 19th of this month. Add to all that this list of even more gigs with AChord, Nobles of Note, Dave Washburn’s Three-quarter Fast Jazz Band, Singapore Slingers, Dallas Banjo Band, Mark McKenzie Quartet, throw in at least a dozen new songs and … well, you can see I’ve had plenty to be thankful for this year – and believe me I am.
  But being thankful has also made me very mindful of friends and acquaintances who have had a rough year. They’ve had to deal with the pain of loss – it’s a pain most of us know too well.  And for them, and perhaps for all of us even now at Christmas time the vacant chair at the table is … The following has been written especially for them. Why? Because I felt they needed a word to be said in their behalf and elected myself to be a spokesman. Well, let’s be honest – I don’t think I was the one who elected myself spokesman. It was really His idea, I just sort of did my best to put it into words.

For After All, It’s Christmas

Okay, it’s Christmas time
Time for fun, frolic and fellowship
And good feelings and laughter
And being together and …
And … and for some – memories
Remembering that someone we loved
Is no longer here
So instead of a smile a tear
Comes to our eyes for a moment
Or maybe longer
It’s a moment with a feeling
A feeling that may grow stronger
As the homey, warm-hearted Rockwell scenes we see
Remind us in clear detail just how great being family can be
And despite the holiday glow everywhere
We know a sadness inside
That we try not to show
Might even try to hide
Not all that anxious to share
It’s a burden
One we’ve learned to bear
Not because we’re martyrs
But because we care
Always have, always will
Best to keep it to ourselves
For after all, it is Christmas

Okay, that’s enough, right!
Are you trying to bring us all down
Turn the red and green that colors
Our Christmas Dreams
Into something so gloomy
That it starts to look more
Like our worst nightmare on Halloween night?
Uh, no, I’m not
But in case you forgot
Christmas is supposed to be
Something a whole lot more than
What it’s become
I believe it started out as
A celebration of the arrival of a Son
The Holy, Life giving
(and in His case, literally) One
And pardon me, (which I know He will)
But if this season doesn’t have something hopeful,
Something real
To offer those in pain, those whose scars are deep
Who sometimes can’t help but weep
Because their world is now shattered
For suddenly it seems nothing much really matters
Like it did when she, when he was here
Well then let’s just turn Christmas over to Hallmark
Or Wal-mart or whoever and be done with it, shall we
Because this is God we’re talking about and let’s be clear
He knows hurt, he knows sorrow and I believe when we cry
He knows the weight of our tears
And He doesn’t expect you “put on a Happy face” when your heart is broken
Just because the Yuletide gods demand it
His grace is unending, his arms always open
For all His children
Though I confess I don’t fully understand it
But maybe especially at this time of year He sees those
Wounded, weary and lonely
And recalls not only a baby’s birth
Coming to a troubled and unwelcoming earth
But remembers how it felt to lose His only Son
To a world who certainly took their time remembering Him
And if God does indeed weep, and I believe He does
He would have then – even though He knew the rest of the story
And so do we who are people of faith – know the rest of the story
Oh, I don’t mean now that we trust
We blithely say, “Hey, everything is just all right with me”
What I do mean is that we can make it
We can, it’s not easy and it sure can be overwhelming at times
Even so
We can put one foot in front of the other
Wipe away the tears as we go
Do our very best with His help to grow beyond where we are
And look for the Star, like the wise men did
Not exactly sure where it will lead us
But believing He would never lead us astray
And if may, I’ll quote myself
“As long as He’s leading the way
We can say
Thanks to the Father, we’ve made it this far
Thanks to the Father, we know who we are”
And so does He, so does He
To those battle worn and beaten down,
My prayer would be
May you feel Him walking beside you
Willing to guide you, a never failing Father
Brother, Sister, Mother, Savior
Compassionate,  Strong, Kind
Giving you the very best present of all
His unconditional, full of “amazing grace” Love
To each one of you at this Christmas time

Merry Christmas,
George Gagliardi, December, 2013