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My husband and I are sitting in our robes at our computers, listening to Christmas carols. Today is the first time this season I have heard the Christmas songs I grew up with. The songs are full of emotion for me. It started this morning on Snapchat when one of the filters had a halo and wings, and the song playing was Oh Holy Night. Tears filled my eyes and ran down my cheeks. I heard the same song when I clicked on a link from fellow blogger Outofagreatneed’s Facebook page.

It isn’t the songs about jingle bells, or frosty the snowman, or how cold it is outside that get me; it is the religious songs that get me crying. Those songs were such a part of my childhood, and they bring up the most powerful and wonderful memories. It makes me miss the child I used to be and the young version of all my brothers.

I love my life with my husband and the past twenty years with him have been the best of my life, but I have to admit there are things in my childhood that I miss and that I mourn. I miss having my three older brothers around. I miss believing in Santa Claus and magic. I miss my love of Sunday school, and I miss the simplicity of the 60’s and 70’s. I guess I miss being a kid even though my brothers and I had traumatic and tough things to deal with in our youth.

We attended church every Christmas Eve growing up and every year we sang the same songs. When it was time to sing, The First Noel, my oldest brother, Joel (who is seven years my senior), used to tell all of us younger kids that they were singing the FIRST JOEL. All four of us kids would be belting out “The first Joel, the angels did sing!” Joel would have a huge grin on his face when all of us younger kids loudly sang his name.

Not only do the religious songs bring up memories of my innocence and a simpler time, but they also bring up all the hope I have for my life and the lives of others. The songs remind me of all the best messages of a religion I hold dear: all people are created equal (even if they are homeless or have a mental illness), there is forgiveness for all, there is joy, there is the promise of peace. Not to mention a belief that I will someday see my beloved grandparents, and other people who have passed before me. Equality. Hope. Joy. Forgiveness. Meaning. Eternity. Love. Peace. Not a bad way to focus a troubled mind.

So, as I sing off key and loudly in my condominium this Christmas feeling both triumphant and nostalgic, I hope that a part or a piece of the season I celebrate enters your heart – imagine, equality. Imagine peace. Think love.

Merry Christmas from a very sentimental blogger who dares to hope for a better life for all – next year and all the years to come.