There are so many reasons to be thankful this time of year. Family, friends, gifts, good food, laughter, and a reminder that despite the world being a dark and dreary place at times, love and light can break through. However, there are some that can only view the season with a kind of deep longing and hurt. Their family was broken they experienced abuse. They don’t have friends to celebrate with or the money to spend on gifts and food. While it would be nice to be able to wrap the whole thing up in glittery paper and put a bow on it, Christmas can be a hard time for some people. These songs highlight a special demographic for which the holidays can be especially traumatic: children who don’t have a family or home to call their own.
Of course, these songs are meant to tug heartstrings—that seems to be much of the purpose anyway. I, for one, have found myself sniffling and sobbing through these songs in particular. I think they are worth listening to though. I think the reminder that there are people in need is especially necessary around Christmas time. We can do something to make others’ lives better if we can.
“Merry Christmas” by 3rd Day
The song is certain to bring tears to your eyes. It is a story about a little girl from China who is living in an orphanage. Her family, the family that hopes to adopt her, is waiting for the adoption to go through. It hasn’t happened yet and everyone is sad about it. I remember the last Christmas before we had our kids. I felt that pain acutely. I knew that somewhere in the world there were kids that needed a home but they weren’t with me yet. The refrain is this:
“It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas “
I love this. It is melancholy, but I find that I am also a little melancholy this time of year so it seems fitting.
“All I Really Want for Christmas” by Stephen Curtis Chapman
My people. Ya’ll. This song has me undone every single time I hear it. I’ve had to just turn off the radio when I’m in the car alone because I am not okay if this comes on. What gets me emotional about it? The better question is what doesn’t get me emotional about it. Even then, pretty much the whole thing is solid gold in my opinion.
“All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in. A shoulder to cry on lose, shoulders to ride on when I win” Gahhh. It is told from the perspective of a little boy who wants to be adopted. There are so many kids waiting in foster care who desperately want and need families to love them. Is it an easy journey? No, absolutely not. Is it worth it to give one more kid a place to lay their head and to feel loved and included? Absolutely yes. This song reminds me of my kids. Look, just read this and don’t get teary-eyed, I dare you. Better yet, google it and watch the video. Even the grinchiest grinch would tear up I think.
“Well, I don’t know if you remember me or not” The kid is old enough to be skeptical but young enough to still maybe believe in Santa granting wishes. “I’m one of the kids they brought in from the home” Could mean children’s home and be talking about an old-time orphanage but could easily mean “group home” in this context. So many kids live in group homes if individual foster families can’t be found. “I didn’t come and talk to you, ’cause that’s never worked before” Poor kid. “just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time” He’s getting desperate and is asking again but figuring it probably won’t work. Can you imagine being a kid who has exhausted all other options and is once again asking Santa for a family? I cannot. Gah. This next verse ends me. It is such a representation of my kiddos:
“But I’m really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Well, maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I’ve heard
Sounds like the greatest gift on earth would be a mom”
Right there. Done. Deceased. I know my man Stephan is not just trying to make everyone feel bad either. The dude has more than once put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, and adopted several children that needed a home. He’s even established a non-profit to help potential adoptive families get grants to fund their adoptions. Beautiful. And again, it is melancholy, but not in a terrible way. It’s hopeful, which I appreciate.
“Father to the Fatherless” by TobyMac
This one is much less weepy and much more upbeat. It tells the story about how a family took a kid home for the weekend as a “big brother” sort of thing. I’ve never heard of a program that does this but for the sake of the song, I’ll assume it does somewhere. Anyway, the family takes a boy home to spend the holidays with them and they end up falling in love with him and wanting to adopt him. It’s very sweet, and like most of Toby’s music, it is fun to listen to. It’s half-sung half-rapped, so if that’s not your jam—be warned. However, I enjoy it.
“Big brother for the weekend, respondin’ to the season
I took the chance that givin’s better than receivin’
Two nights, a new family, some holiday cheer…
Big brother turned dad in a couple weeks
Some gifts give more than you could ever dream
Started out as a plan just to do my part,
But that little man went and stole my heart”
I hope this Christmas finds you fed, safe, warm, and loved. I hope if you are feeling a tug on your heart towards foster care and adoption, you investigate it further. There are many kids who need an adult to love them. It might be too late for this Christmas, but there is plenty of time to get them home before the next one.