Followers of this blog know my “Hidden Christmas Tracks” section in which I call out some inspiring, but little known, Christmas songs. However, there are a few wildly popular ones that are an important part of my family’s holiday season, too. Last year’s big song for us was a relatively new classic, “All I want for Christmas is you” by Mariah Carey. Though released in the mid-90’s, that delicious mix of Motown-style pop perfection captured our hearts anew.
This song was the soundtrack to a scene I recently described as one of God’s kaleidoscope moments—when God takes various little pieces of our lives and brings them together in a beautiful way.
Last December, I was driving home, alone, on a bitterly cold night. The chimes that open Mariah’s song rang out from the radio, and I instantly cranked up the volume. My heart filled with joy at this happy song, and I remembered my family’s delighted faces as they’d dance and sing it along with me. Now, you also need to know that I love baseball, and grew up with the Cardinals. My dad and I shared not only a love of baseball, but December birthdays as well. These are important details.
Back to the car. So, I’m not far from home as I tool along, dancing and singing with Mariah and her crew. When I’m alone like this, I can imagine for just a moment that I’m the lead singer belting out this marvelous tune. But even in a fantasy world I know I cannot match Mariah’s range. As she soared to the heights of the song’s final chorus, I pulled my car over and lip-synched with her. I closed my eyes, and missed not a beat as her voice and my heart rose to “all I want for Christmas is…..you!” Tears streamed down my face, as if overflowing straight from my heart. I opened my eyes and saw my two hands, in black leather gloves, pointing heavenward.
At first I thought I’d simply pointed the way to Mariah’s stratospheric note. But then realizations, like tiny bits of colored glass, tumbled into place:
• Black gloves
• Batting gloves
• Albert Pujols after he hits a home run, rounding home and praising God
You get it? All I want for Christmas is…You:
• My beautiful family
• My Dad who’s now in heaven
• And God, who is the end of all our desires, and the only true fulfillment of our longing.
See, while the song sings of one woman’s desire for her lover at the holidays, it heralds a much deeper need in all of us—to be loved completely, as God ultimately does. To be loved and known so intimately, that on a bitter cold night on a dark road, God delighted to fashion together the right music and images and message to fill my heart and remind me, once again, how very loved I am. This is an important message during the holidays for all of us, as we scramble about preoccupied with details and tasks and stressing over gifts and food. What really matters, throughout the year and particularly at Christmastime, is to remember and experience how very deeply we are loved.
Update: I just discovered that Mariah Carey is releasing her second Christmas album next month. And it includes a “reworked” version of “All I want for Christmas is you.” I gotta ask: How’s she gonna top the original?