In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!--and Especially Our Troops

I would like to wish a blessed and merry Christmas to everyone! No soul should be lonely or forgotten on this holiday--and indeed, none is, because we all have a God who remembers and loves every last man, woman, and child on this earth, every moment of every day of the year. But in the midst of life's challenges we don't always realize it, and it's especially hard for men and women far from family and home at military installations here in the United States, or at bases or in the field in faraway lands. We can imagine Santa visiting them, as in the amusing drawing below by Thomas Nast of Santa distributing packages to Union troops during the Civil War, which appeared on the cover of Harper's Weekly on January 3, 1863 (if you were a soldier would you rather get socks or a jack-in-the-box?--believe me, you'd want the former!):

But as adults we know that Santa won't "really" be there, and that there's nothing our service men and women want more at times like this than to be at home, surrounded by family and friends. Would that we didn't need soldiers and sailors, armies and navies! But until the Messiah returns, we always will. And one thing we can do for them is pray unceasingly for their welfare, their success, and their safe and speedy return home. To that end, I'd like to reprint a marvelous "Christmas Prayer for our Troops & their Families" that appeared on the excellent web site Free Republic one year ago tomorrow:
Lord God, there is no other God but You. You alone are Savior. You alone are Redeemer. When we trust in You, when we fear You alone, there You are, by our sides, protecting, providing in Your ever-perfect Way….especially when we do not understand.

Lord God, You came on that first Christmas as the Prince of Peace – not the Prince of peace as the world defines it but the peace which You bring to tortured souls, the peace which surpasses understanding and the peace between Jew and Gentile that anyone, yes, anyone who proclaims belief in You as Savior and bows to You as Lord may enter into the supreme goodness of eternity with You.

Lord God, You are God, therefore Your ways are not our own. Yours are higher, better. They must be or You are not God. Lord God, the world wants peace, but the peace it seeks is not to be found so long as we are on this earth. When Adam and Eve chose to obey their own wills instead of Yours, they set themselves under the dominion of the evil one, who is greater than we and less, less, less than You!!! This adversary roams the world, looking to destroy, looking to conquer.

Lord God, so long as we are on earth, though we do not want war, times will come and come again where we must stand and fight. Lord God, every generation has paid this high price for freedom in some way and now it is our turn. Lord God, bless each and every military member and family who so valiantly serve this nation and the world, drawing the line and saying no more to those who would exact terror on the rest of us and force us to submit to their way of life or be killed.

Lord God, draw each and every troop and their families closer to You this Christmas. Give them greater understanding of who You are and the mission they serve – for our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Lord God, show Yourself to them, help them understand how You protect, how You provide and how they can trust in You.

Lord God, be with the families. Send Your angels not only to those on the battlefields, but every family at home this Christmas who has someone they love deployed and especially be with our Gold Star families.. Stand by them and be their comfort this Christmas as they journey through the loneliness of grief. Lord God only You can reach deep inside where the hurt is and slowly, slowly bring the healing. Give each of them a purpose from You which helps them keep going, though often it is the hardest thing they have ever had to do.

And Lord God, be with each of our wounded warriors. Heal them spiritually, emotionally, as well as physically. Give their doctors great wisdom and give them comrades beside them so they may encourage one another. Bless also each of our veterans and let them feel Your love around them this Christmas.

Lord God, provide now the way for victory in this war. The adversary may be more clever than we are, but You are Sovereign and You are Supreme. Therefore we bow to You and ask You to give our Generals, Admirals and Leaders Your strategy to make progress to victory. Lord God, we can’t do this without You. By Your Holy Spirit speak to them. Guide and direct them and bring them all home safely. We are so grateful for their service. In Jesus’ precious and mighty name, Amen
Amen indeed . . . and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!


It's A Wonderful said...

That's a beautiful prayer. It struck many chords in my own life, I can only imagine how much more meaningful to a military troop and/or family. Thank you for posting this...Amen.

Anonymous said...

This prayer is so beautiful, and so moving! Thank you for posting it, and your overall thoughts about the subject. God be with our troops, and their families at home.