I can truthfully say that I hate war. There are no good wars and I would have to ask if there are just ones. Why am I saying this now during the time of Christmas? This is a season for Joy and Love at the celebration of the coming Christ Child, so why talk about war. Yes, Christmas is a time of Love and Joy, of giving and sharing, family and friends. But at this time war is occurring, people are suffering and dying. Militaries stand opposite each other seeking the opportunity to defeat the other. Many will not come home at all and many will come home injured and maimed, physically, mentally and emotionally. Families will not be together and even though it may be the troops in a faraway land who are threatened with physical harm the families back home suffer as well not knowing whether their loved ones are safe or are in harm’s way. And all look for hope during their time of despair.
Christmas, 1970, was spent on a firebase in South Vietnam. There was no joy there because a few hours earlier in setting up for a Christmas Eve cease fire there was a friendly fire incident where 12 of our fellow soldiers died. Talk about rip the heart out of Christmas that will do it. For the soldiers involved the exact cause is still unknown but the cause does not matter. What matters is that 12 of our brothers did not come home to celebrate. The ultimate gift man can receive is the gift of a Savior, the ultimate ruin is to have blood on your hands. How, or rather, can they coexist?
Right now it is two weeks until Christmas 2015. Two Thousand and 15 some odd years since the first Christmas occurred, the actual Christmas Day. We hold so strongly to that event so long ago and pull meaning out of the story even today. At the same time, at least in America, most everyone is going nuts with shopping, lights, tinsel and general madness. How much can they spend, how much says I love you, can I have as many lights on my house as the Griswold’s (yes, I watch National Lampoon’s Christmas and laugh).
So Christmas is coming once again and here I am talking about hating war. Our nation’s fear level is increased about possible terrorist attacks within our nation, disturbing our peace at this time we hold dear. Halfway around the world the military is fighting actual war and we are having to be prepared for more wars in different places, all combined with fears of possible threats around us. If people cannot see the tragedy in this then they are blind. If they cannot hear the cries of the suffering then they are deaf. If they will not join and say that they also hate war then they are dumb.
I hate war and would choose to not go again to war. But, if I must I will and if I could go in place of a young person and spare them the pain thus allowing them to know the fullness of life without seeing war I would go in their place. And on top of it all this Christmas I will worship and rejoice at the greatest gift man has ever received, the Christ Child, born for you and for me.