As you regular readers know, I'm not much on religion. But on this night of nights — whether we celebrate the beginning of the long climb toward summer or the birth of the Christ-child, whether the words we read are from the King James Version or the Holy Qu'ran — I would hope that we can all take breath and rest tonight, in peace.
So join me in keeping our troops in our thoughts this Christmas Day...they are our families. I am reminded of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's magnificent prayer as Allied troops landed in Europe on D-Day:
In this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor … to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness to their faith.They will need Thy blessings…. They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violence of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and for tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.And remember those in need, in pain, who would give anything to have American troops standing guard over them today.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice….
As always, on the newest of Christmas Days, I leave you with the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings:
That I believe.Frodo"I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."Gandalf"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil..."