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The Reason For The Season
Some Reflections

The Old Gray Dog Ponders -- A Soldier's Christmas
By Rev. James Tuckett

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
John 15: 12-13

Two men have been willing to die for you:
Jesus Christ, to save your soul,
and the American soldier, to save your freedom.
Tony Blair

Night Before Christmas

'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,
AND ON THE WALL PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBERING THOUGHT CAME TO MY MIND.
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, SO DARK AND SO DREARY,
THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, NOW 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.
THAT 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 SOON 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 EVENING'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 TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."

This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan.
The following is his request. I think it is reasonable. "Please,
would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and
some credit is due to our U.S. servicemen and women
for our being able to celebrate it in peace and security."

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace, now and throughout the New Year to come,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.