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Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is upon us and I don't know that I will get another post done before it arrives, so I thought I would post something tonight just in case. A couple of housekeeping items first - I promised a post on compromise and principles, but I have been goofing off with the kids this last two days of my vacation and haven't made time to finish it. You will have to wait. Secondly, if you have kids and want to treat them, go and see "Alvin and the Chipmunks." I took my little ones today and it was worth it. They snickered and laughed for most of the 91 minutes.

There are two Christmas memories I would like to share, one from my childhood, and the other from the beginning of my adulthood. Despite the articulation we engage in explaining that we know the meaning of Christmas, sometimes it sinks in deeper than others.

I was probably about 9 years old, and the Christmas the year before I had received an electric car. It was much simpler than those sold these days as it was a generic car, but the principle is still the same. One day a few weeks before Christmas my dad asked me if he could give it away. Someone he worked with was having a really bad time (This was in 1975 for those who remember those lean and somewhat miserable years) and wasn't going to be able to do anything for Christmas for his kids. So my dad was trying to scrounge up some things, and even though they might not have all been new toys, they would be new to a child on Christmas morning. I was willing to part with it, so my car was gone.

A couple of days later my dad came home with a small horse that was a wind-up toy. It probably didn't even cost a dollar. The man my dad had helped gave it to us for giving away the car. He had told my dad that it was only right to exchange a gift. He said he couldn't return anything that was the value of the car, but he had to do something. My dad was moved, and very softly explained this to me. Even today I get choked up talking about it. It was a lesson learned about helping others, about being gracious, and most of all that class and honor don't accompany money; these qualities come with character and one can accept the generosity of others while doing something of value.

The other Christmas memory is from 1990. During the week of Christmas my brother and I were at Camp Lejeune, N.C. preparing to depart for Saudi Arabia. Several times that week our unit packed up and headed for Cherry Point, only to be returned to the barracks as our orders and priorities changed. Our parents brought our girlfriends - mine a couple of years later to be my wife - and stayed in town until Christmas Eve.

Christmas day saw a bunch of Marines sitting around a six inch tree singing Christmas carols and praying. We knew what we were going to face - combat and miserable conditions for the foreseeable future - but the prayers were for families. Prayers that they would be comforted, and taken care of during the dark times. Prayers for them to be content, and happy, and to be able to anticipate our return and not be obsessed with the possibility that we wouldn't.

December 26th at dawn saw us loading an aircraft headed for the desert, and seven months of prayers that continued for families. I don't want to turn this into a discussion about Iraq, but for those who have never served with our warriors, they aren't concerned for themselves. They spend their days in combat zones worrying about their families. Christmas is about giving, and giving is often more than just a gift. It is about giving our hearts and souls to something or someone on the outside.

I hope that this Christmas finds you in peace. Peace of soul and of warmth. Peace in knowing that you are loved and peace in knowing that you love others more than yourself. Find peace in knowing that God gives without expecting in return, and loves without ceasing. May the celebration of the birth of Christ give you a boost into a new year!

Merry Christmas to all!

11 Posts From Readers:

American Interests said...

Two wonderful stories and a most appropriate post for this time of year.

Thank you for sharing...

I wish you the same peace that you have expressed for your readers...

Merry Xmas Robert


Robert, your story about your Dad is warm and touching and I am sure these memories must make you proud. My Dad was a first aid volunteer in our town, and around the holidays there always seemed to be more emergencies than any other time of year. When the first aid siren blew, often in the middle of the night, he scurried to get out the ambulences and attend to the sick and injured.

I remember the Christmas of 1990 very well, My daughter, Jennifer, was in Saudi Arabia (at KKMC). It was hard being a parent, watching those events unfold from afar.

Please accept my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year, from my family to yours.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Thanks for sharing these great memories!

Merry Christmas my friend!

Shaw said...

Wonderful stories.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and to everyone who comes here to comment.


Obob said...

Merry Christmas Robert, we get tied up thinking about getting the right gift for others, we need to remember those without and in sacrifice.

heidianne jackson said...

thank you for these wonderful recommections, robert. they are memories to treasure and guard jealously lest you forget them. i will take these stories with me today to share with my children and teach them some more.

i am so grateful to count you amongst those with wisdom i have "met". the merriest of christmasses to you and yours. god bless!!!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Great memories for sharing and reflecting upon.

Merry Christmas to you and your readers!

Anonymous said...

Robert.....Wow! Although I'm reading this after Christmas, it touches my heart deeply. That is what Christmas is all about in a nutshell. Giving, kindness, Peace and the birth of Christ. A little too late to offer you a Merry One, but I hope you had a wonderful time with your family. Thank you for sharing your stories, for they are things that are so important. Memories like that are precious and should always be held close, especially this time of year.


Merry Christmas, Robert:
My daughter, Jenn, was on CNN yesterday. A video clip called Christmas in Iraq

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Eco, was she the one singing carols at the beginning? neat to see her on the news. Tell her to remember the small people some years from now...

Thanks Jenn and to all...I hope everyone had a great Christmas!


Apologies, I should have mentioned that she is the one wearing the green Christmas pom pom.

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