The holiday season is upon us, and all the craziness has started. Many people are excited about being off of school for a month or off work for some time. Holiday parties, mad rushes to the stores, trimming of the Christmas tree, and singing Christmas carols. The truth is that we are so spoiled and blessed that we don’t even realize it. I am still amazed that at this time of year many people still think Christmas is all about the gifts. I have to tell you, it truly turns my stomach. If your biggest worry is if you’re getting the new IPhone 5 or another new item that just came out, it’s pretty sad and selfish.
We have so many military troops around the world that won’t be home with their families during this holiday season. Many men and women are still in combat zones fighting for us. No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be thankful for life. Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive. On Christmas day when you’re at your church services, just think of the man and women that are serving in harm’s way that are wearing bullet proof vest and cavalier helmet at their church services. It is very sad and brings tears to my eyes knowing that there are families that can’t be together because the out there making sure all of us can be. At this very second as you’re reading this article there is a little girl and a little boy writing their Christmas list, and the first thing on it is to have their mother or father home from a far off land they are deployed at, and can’t leave their post.
As you can see, all of the material things on your Christmas list just don’t seem that important in comparison. When you are celebrating with your families and friends, please pray for and toast these true heroes that are thousands of miles away from their loved ones. In 1987 a U.S. Marine named Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt wrote a poem titled A Soldier’s Silent Night. If you don’t understand what I am talking about, I will let Santa Claus explain it.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
I REALIZED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
SOON ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN’T HELP WONDER HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY;
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”
THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA, IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH, AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND, AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU THIS NIGHT.”
Poem by James M. Schmidt