Oh there's nothing like Christmas in the country –
The simple joy of family by the fire
And carols ringing out across the valley
From neighbors that make up the village choir.
Oh, the joy of Christmas in the country
The love and warmth and gentle memories –
And knowing that the simple old sweet story
Is waiting in the country just for me.

The smell of fudge and apples from the kitchen –
The bubble lights that flicker on the tree –
The whispered sounds of secrets from the children
Embrace and call back home the likes of me.

There's nothing like Christmas in the country
When silent snow is falling on the barn,
And children press their noses to the window
As winter turns to magic the old farm.

Oh, the joy of Christmas in the country
The love and warmth and gentle memories –
And knowing that the simple old sweet story
Is waiting in the country just for me.

The laughter stops as Pop picks up the Bible
It falls from habit open to Luke 2
And none of us will never tire of hearing,
"Now children, here is how God came to you."

"There were in that same country shepherds watching
The flocks at night upon a lonely hill …"
And with his well-worn voice he tells the story
Of how God loved us once and loves us still.

Oh, the joy of Christmas in the country
The love and warmth and gentle memories –
And knowing that the simple old sweet story
Is waiting in the country just for me.

Lyric:  Gloria Gaither
Music:  William J. Gaither, Michael Sykes, and Woody Wright
Copyright © 2000 by Gaither Music Company, Mal 'N Al Music, and Would He Write Songs.  All rights reserved.

Christmas in the Country

I believe there is a homing device in every human heart.  Even if we've never had a good home to go home to, there is an innate yearning for one where we are cherished and understood.  In our yearning, we see this as a place of peace where there is no pretense and where we are accepted for who we truly are – not for what we've accomplished or how we look.

And there is no time like Christmas for pulling us back to such a place.  Usually, how much we love and look forward to Christmas as a holiday is in direct proportion to how close to this ideal home really is.  Sadly, for many the reality of the holiday is one of the most painful experiences of the year.

Perhaps the reason we cling to the ideal at Christmas more than at any other time is that this celebration is in honor of the One who came to bring true peace, joy, love, and a place to belong.  And the truth is that no family home and no human relationship can ever totally give us what we need.  Every parent fails sometimes.  Every love falls short.  Every child disappoints and turns prodigal at one time or another.  No sibling is totally supportive or faithful to protect the secrets with which he or she has been entrusted.

Even so, home is the nearest thing we have to a metaphor for belonging.  The imperfection of us all keeps us yearning for another place – the place that will truly be Home.

Thankfully, our memories tend to preserve the good and forgive the flawed.  I'm sure my grandma's house in the country was not as good as I remember it.  The "front room," as she called it, was not as big, the kitchen not as warm, the snows not as white or as deep as in my memories of trudging through them to get to that farmhouse with the fieldstone porch.

As I recall, she and Grandpa opened the big double doors to that front room only for special occasions.  The piano was in there, and she would always have the old itinerant piano tuner come just before Christmas so we could sing carols around that piano when we all crowded in.