Guest post by Missionary Pam Smoak
Even now, I have Christmas music going in the living room. Julie Andrews, Bing Crosby, Selah, Amy Grant and many others, mostly oldie-goldies, play for hours. There is one song that always, always stops me in mid-motion, no matter the recording artist or music style – I’ll Be Home For Christmas. For so many years, that was the song that touched my heart the most, for I was usually far away south of the equator. But in my heart, I was home.
When I went to Germany in 1978 after Bible school, my mother told me she was so old and sickly that she would probably not be there when I got back. I suspicioned that the old MD who had delivered me had her on too many meds for hypertension and whatever. So I promptly made an appointment with an internist who just as promptly took her off all meds and said she was fine. I trotted off to Germany for a year. When I came back, Mom was there. I was home for Christmas.
Kenya for AIM, Tanzania under full appointment and miles of deputation took me away from Hurst Hill where my mom always stood on the front porch and waved good-bye to us. She never failed to remind me, “I may not be here when you get back.”
I was always home for Christmas when I could and tearfully sang “I’ll be home for Christmas” when I couldn’t.
January 2004 I got the call no missionary wants to get, my mom had died. I wasn’t there. I had not been home for Christmas. Devastated, I flew home for the funeral. I remember weeping and laying my head on my Uncle Leon’s shoulder and saying, “She always told me she might not be here and this time she wasn’t here. She wasn’t here.”
This year, I will be home for Christmas, but she won’t be there in person, “only in my dreams”.