Christmas Eve in Iraq

I got this not from one of our members serving in Iraq.
Let’s remember there is still a battle going on.

Family and Friends,
Here I am on Christmas Eve in Iraq for the second Christmas in a row. This will be my Christmas message and I am hoping that Trish will attach a note at the bottom to fill you in on how the rest of the family is doing back home. I just returned from a Christmas Eve service at the base Chapel and I have to confess that I am a BIG Grinch when it comes to Frosty, Rudolph, and Feliz Navidad but I am also have to confess that when they started singing Joy to the World, Silent Night, and Mary Did You Know, I might as well be cutting onions!

Tonight was pretty special when you consider that we had Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force of all ranks as well as about 2 dozen Ugandans, a handful of Philippino workers, some Indians, and a bunch of American contractors in attendance. The Ugandans sang some worship songs in their native language and the Philippino’s song traditional Tagalog carols. What makes this even more amazing is that it all took place in the middle of Iraq—in the heart of Babylon and so near the original location of so many Biblical stories.

Tonight as I walked back from the chapel, I looked up at the sky and I thought about how it must have looked exactly the same except with that bright start pointing the way to a stable 2007 years ago. The next thought was that while that star may not be up there in the sky tonight, it is still there but just inside each of us—still pointing the way for each of us today. The star still points the way today when we read the wonderful story and when we share it with others. The star still points the way.

I also want to take this chance to remind you why we are here in Iraq or Afghanistan this Christmas again. This past week we lost 2 Marines here in Iraq. One of them was killed under hostile fire in physical combat while the other took his life right here on this camp after loosing a spiritual battle. Two lives lost in combat—one physical, one spiritual. I grieve for both of these families as they enter this Christmas season.

We have to remember that there is a war going on in more than one realm. We must continue to pray for those who are deployed, their families, and also our enemies. Our Lord humbled Himself and came to save us, in the form of a baby. Before time, He had that manger in mind and He had us in mind when He laid the plans for the manger…for the cross…and even for this deployment. God is still in control. The battle continues but the war has been won! Who knows maybe I will write my New Year’s message from Afghanistan… that is if my brother will finally get the Air Force to work for me! In the words of my Ugandan brothers—”Jabulani” (Celebrate!)
From the Front,

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