I have said it before. I am a Baby Boomer. I loved the pop music and folk music of the 60s and 70s. Music moves me deeply, and often can express so eloquently what I cannot describe. John Denver’s music and lyrics always moved me—and was perfect to listen to whether I felt happy or sad.
So often, people associate Christmas with children. That seems only natural, doesn’t it? Now, pick up some tissues. I am going to tell you a story that may make you cry. I have told parts of it before. The story changes a bit with each telling, because I remember it differently each time. Anyway, about a year and a half after I got married, we had a little girl. Her name was Erin, and she was born Thanksgiving weekend. She had a host of medical issues, and went straight to the NICU. She remained in the hospital(and had some surgeries while there) until a few days before Christmas. When we finally got to hold her for awhile each day in the hospital, I would rock her and sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. I was determined that she make it home for Christmas.
A few days before Christmas they let us take her home. How difficult it had been to leave the hospital each day and go home without my sweet baby. Anyway, we went home. But the next day, the incision from her shunt surgery began to weep. We had to take her back. She needed more surgeries, and remained in the hospital for another few weeks.
From January through September she had a myriad of appointments and surgeries. In between those times, we took her everywhere: church, the market, even my exercise classes. Her joyous spirit, despite her suffering, touched everyone. In September, she had open heart surgery for a heart defect. After the surgery she had complications, and her organs began to fail. Sweet little Erin died in late September; she never even reached 12 pounds. I literally heard angels wings as I held her when she died. Now, we surely knew that God’s little angel was always with us. A few weeks later, her hospital roommate Baby James died. With the passing of such sweet babies, oh how my heart ached for more children….
Two years later, we adopted our son. To say that his health was robust doesn’t even begin to cover it! Yet part of me lived in fear of losing him, too. Every single night when I rocked him at bedtime, I would sing “Silent Night” to him. You see, I feared that he, too would never have a Christmas with us, at home. When he reached the age of 10 months and 6 days, I celebrated. My fear dissolved. But I continued to sing Silent Night every night.
Sometimes the ache in a heart remains for a long time, doesn’t it?The heart can grow afraid to really believe and hope, for fear it will break again. So his first Christmas, we journeyed from NJ, where we lived, to OH, where my parents live. There we were, at Christmas Eve Mass. I looked at my sweet little baby boy in my arms, and I knew. I knew his sister was there. I knew he was fine and lovely. My heart was filled to overflowing.
As we walked up to Communion, the choir and congregation sang it. Yes, they did. They sang Silent Night. You know what? My son picked his head up from my arms and looked around. He soaked it all in ~ as if the whole world was singing him to sleep.
After communion, the church was quiet. The candles on the altar were aglow. Then, the soloist picked up his guitar and sang this song. It is called Merry Christmas Little Zachary. It made me cry ~ in such a deep and beautiful way. I wept for all the Erins of the worldSo today, I say that Christmas is around the bend ~ I’m putting the lyrics here. After that I am embedding the video for those of you that have the ability to open them! Silent Night is still my very favorite Christmas Carol (followed closely by Adeste Fideles).
Merry Christmas Little Zachary
The season is upon us now
the time for gifts and giving
as the year draws to its close,
i think about my living.
The Christmas time when I was young,
the magic and the wonder.
The colors dull, and candles dim
and dark, my standing under.
Oh, little angel shining light
you’ve set my soul to dreaming
you’ve given back my joy in life
and filled me with new meaning.
A Savior king was born that day
baby just like you
as the wise men came with gifts
I’ve come with my gift too.
that peace on earth fills up your time
and brotherhood surrounds you
that you may know the warmth of love
and wrap it all around you.
It’s just a wish
a dream I’m told,
from days when I was young
Merry Christmas little Zachary,
Merry Christmas everyone….
Merry Christmas little Zachary,
Merry Christmas everyone.