Have you ever spent a Christmas away from home?

Sooner or later we all do. It is an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But at the same time I consider it one of those crucial life experiences. A Christmas away gives the gift of gratitude. It centers you on what is really important at Christmas.

Once upon a time I was a young man. My life and its adventures took me away from home at Christmas. And I can recall well the feelings of isolation, of time lost and wasted in solitude on Christmas. And just as true I can remember a hero’s welcome when I later returned. I can recall the tears and the sense that I had survived and conquered.

Times have changed. Home as I knew it is no more. I am home now and those who leave are my young — many of them adults now and on adventures of their own. And when they are not home for Christmas I feel that other side of loneliness that comes from Christmas away. And the tears of anticipation of their return are my own.

The ebb and flow of Christmas home and Christmas away will forever be a part of life. But the feelings are always there.

This video from Home Free singing I’ll Be Home for Christmas does not give us a unique turn of this timeless classic. And I’m glad it doesn’t. These guys play it straight and just let their talents — and some home grown video tell the story. If you can get through it without tears…well, you’re stronger than I am. But it is a good reminder that good Christmas music goes far in describing the deeper, truer meanings of Christmas and life.

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