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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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As we embrace a new year, we give thanks for the past and say yes to the future

As we embrace a new year, we give thanks for the past and say yes to the future

As we are about to begin a new year, the words of the former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld come to mind, “For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes.”

You might ask, “How can we say thanks when we look back on this past year with all the catastrophes – hurricanes, wild fires, political strife, and mass shootings?”

Yes, our world is far from perfect and we all have a duty to try to make it a little better before we leave this planet in our present form. That’s why we have to say yes to the future.

A sense of gratitude is an important component in the spiritual life. We first of all recognize God as the source of lives. We have a loving God who sustains us and calls us into being.

Then we have many other things to be thankful for: our family, those who love us and support us, those who protect us from harm, those who free us from ignorance, those who guide us on the right path of life.

The following poem is an example of people whom we should thank for protecting us. It’s entitled, A New Christmas Poem.

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 God is my life,

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 to all a good night.”

This poem was written by a marine who asked we send it to as many people as we possibly can. Let us always be grateful for the military, the police, the firefighters and others who sacrifice themselves for us.

May God bless us as we enter 2018.