Forty-eight years ago, at about this time I watched the movie “Holiday Inn” for the first time. You probably know it as “White Christmas.” That year I had flunked out of Bible College, gotten married and gotten drafted. I was waiting to go to officer candidate school in Oklahoma spending the holidays with my new wife and her family.
The opening scene of that movie is somewhere in a war-ravaged Europe. A bunch of soldiers are making the best of Christmas in Hell. That first time I saw that scene I cried like a baby. I had just finished about 5 months of training with a bunch of young fellows that I had gotten to know pretty well and liked some of them quite a bit. Almost all of them had gotten orders to go to Viet Nam. I could only imagine what they were experiencing but I knew they weren’t with their families, and they were in dangerous places.
I didn’t go to OCS and a year later I was in Viet Nam. It was not a nice place to be. Bob Hope only came to the big bases and only about 1% of the GI’s got to see him. Christmas in Viet Nam was not a happy time. I got lots of cards and a few care packages, but that only made me more aware that I was not with my family at Christmas. I got to the place where I wished there were no cards or packages. It was pretty depressing.
Most years I watch “White Christmas.” Most years I get a little teary. This year, I cried again. Boys and girls the age of my grand-daughter are still in dangerous places, away from family. Some of them will never come home.
War is terrible. But in this world, it is a fact. You and I can probably do little to change that fact. But we can pray, we can remember the ones who are carrying the burden in this terrible time. Not only the boys and girls that are in those dangerous places, but also the wives and husbands, the children and the parents whose hearts are longing for their loved ones.
While we are busy making merry and exchanging gifts, remember those who cannot share the joy with loved ones. If you have the opportunity, find a way to share your love with someone whose loved ones are not able to be with them.