“If We Make It through December,” by Merle Haggard
— Friday, December 9th, 2011 —
In this week’s episode of “The Cross and the Jukebox,” we take a look at another Merle Haggard song, ”If We Make It through December.” The jingly Christmas carols wafting around us in the shopping malls tell us that this is the “most wonderful time of the year.” But behind all that wonder, if you look hard enough, you can see some faces lined out with worry, especially in a time of skyrocketing unemployment. Unemployment and financial distress are not just about economics or national policy. They have to do with a man’s spirit.
The song “If We Make It through December” is a sad reflection on that reality, written from the perspective of a father worried about his standing as provider at Christmastime. I think “If We Make It through December” actually has more to do with the Christmas stories of people in our communities and in our churches than, say, “Jingle Bells” does. I also think it has more to do with the Christmas Story too. Joseph of Nazareth faced the same gut-wrenching crisis that the man in Haggard’s does. In adopting Jesus and marrying Jesus’ Blessed Mother, Joseph plunged himself into economic peril. In this episode of the Cross and the Jukebox, we’ll look at what this means for us and for the families to whom we hope to be the presence of Christ.