Sunday, December 02, 2007


melancholy: (noun) A feeling of thoughtful sadness . . .

"Mom, why does Amy Grant always sound so melatchunee?" fourteen-year-old Danielle asked one day as we were out doing some Christmas shopping. "Tennessee Christmas," one of our family favorites was playing as we cruised the parking lot looking for a spot.

"Melatchunee? Um, what's that?" I replied as I snagged a space in front of Rite Aid.

"You know, Mom, mel-latch-un-ee!" Danielle repeated the odd word, slowly enunciating each syllable for her distracted mother. "I think it means sad," she added helpfully.

"Oh, melancholy!" I translated, cracking up at Yellie's latest mis-pronunciation. She loved tossing big words around, even if she had no idea how to say them.

"Yeah, I guess she does sound kind of sad," I agreed as we listened to the last plaintive chorus of the song. "Maybe the song makes her homesick?"

"Yeah, maybe . . ." Danielle thoughtfully agreed.

Fast-forward a few years . . .

As I was chatting with (instant messaging) my daughter Lindsay yesterday, I asked her my favorite question: What has Jesus been teaching you lately?

"I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music these days," she replied. "I get so excited and hopeful--about Christ becoming a man." Linds added a very cheerful emoticon to emphasize her answer.

"Awesome!" I typed back. "Christmas carols always make me feel a little melancholy, though."

"Why is that, Mom?" Lindsay inquired.

"I think they make me homesick . . ."

"Well, it's a good thing to want to be where Jesus is," responded my very wise oldest daughter.

If you find it odd that Christmas music makes me homesick for heaven, just think about it for a moment:

When we sing songs about the birth of Christ, we are celebrating a wonderful event. None of us were actual witnesses of His advent, but if we are Christ-followers, we are eternally impacted by the culmination of His coming--His sacrificial death. We weren't around for that either, but we still celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday as faithfully as we celebrate Christmas.

For me, the birth of Jesus always points to another wondrous event--one I hope to actually be part of. His second coming--the day King Jesus appears to claim His bride and escort us to the wedding feast of the Lamb. And seated around that table will be my son, Jonah, and my mom and my grandma, and all the beloved in Christ who've gone before me. And we shall rejoice together in the light of His great love as Jesus wipes away every tear . . .

O Come, O Come Emmanuel . . . .