Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas: A Soldier's Perspecitve

Mindy here, and today I'm honored to share a letter from a friend of ours serving in Afghanistan. As we rush through the Christmas hubbub, we sometimes forget that others are fighting for our right to celebrate this most cherished of holidays. I think you'll enjoy what John has to say.

I was recently reminded of the time I spent in Iraq back in 2005. It was approaching Christmas and like every other soldier I was dealing with a host of heavy emotions. Every fiber of my body wanted to be home, not just for Christmas, but for my children’s ball games, for their birthdays and for my anniversary. These emotional wants were held in check by the fact that my fellow soldiers and I serve at our country’s bidding, not the bidding of our own desire. If this means we’re away from home during the holidays to accomplish our mission, then so be it.

I found a wonderful peace one day when I actually realized where I was. I was in the middle-east where so much of what we call biblical history took place. I found that even though the birth of Christ had taken place thousands of years before, the Christmas scene had really not changed much. I actually saw camels that were being led by the stars. I saw modern day shepherds who stayed awake and watch their flocks by night. And of course, there were Army tanks patrolling the city streets. The last part may not sound very biblical, but when you consider that the Roman Army was embedded in the area at the time of Christ birth, the stage for the story really hasn’t changed.

With this said, it is Christmas in America, in the Iraqi desert, and in the Afghan mountains. I will spend this wonderful time of the year over 7,000 miles from my home. But before you feel sorry for me, I recall another person who also left their home to accomplish a very special mission. His name was Jesus Christ and he left his home in glory to be miraculously born of a virgin. Throughout his life he was loved and hated. Some saw His presence as a threat; others embraced the gift he offered them. In the end, he changed people’s lives and as a result, he changed the world.

When we talk about Christmas our minds produce a host of beautiful images. We can all visualize the manger, shepherds, angles, and a city called Bethlehem. But, do you realize that all of these images are pictures from the second act of the story? The birth of Christ was not the beginning. The Christmas story began over 4,000 years before the manger in a place called the Garden of Eden. It was in the garden that our Heavenly Father gave the greatest Christmas gift of all time. He made the choice to forgive rather than to condemn. His path of forgiveness walked through the laws of the Old Testament, down the New Testament streets of Bethlehem and up to the top of a hill called Calvary. This is the Christmas story that brings me peace for today and hope for tomorrow even if I am sitting in Afghanistan.

This year my Christmas celebration will be eating dinner with a few thousand of my new found friends, looking at pictures of my loved ones, and thanking God for the gift of His son. It will be merry because I choose to make it so.

Are you still looking for that special Christmas gift? It’s not too late and I have the perfect suggestion. “Hold the one you love… and cherish the love you hold.”

May we all embrace our Heavenly Father’s love along with that of our families. May your days be merry and bright and may we all join as heaven and nature sing… Joy to the world; the Lord has come.

Merry Christmas to all
~ Major John Parker


Happy Tuesday, y'all, and have merry, merry, merry Christmas.

6 comments:

  1. So much wisdom in his words. I'm teary eyed and almost speechless. Thanks so much for sharing this Mindy.

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  2. Wow, Mindy. An amazing letter. Please tell him thank you from my family.

    And thank you for sharing.

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  3. Christy, I reacted the same way, which was why I wanted to share it with our readers. John is an amazing guy, a godly man, and I love his positive outlook. I'm sure he's an inspiration to the men and women in his command.

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  4. I will do that, Missy. I'm sure he will be humbled.

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  5. Thank you to our service men and women for spending time away from family and friends to protect and serve our country.
    Angie

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  6. Very nice!
    “Hold the one you love… and cherish the love you hold.” - I will do just that :)

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