In cleaning out my parent’s home, amongst the memorabilia of their early life together was a Christmas card from the chaplain at the Mine Warfare School in Yorktown, VA, where my dad was assign shortly after my parent’s wedding in November,1943. Yorktown was their first home together, though briefly. Dad was soon assigned to a mine-sweeper where he spent the remainder of the war.
The message, typed in green ink by the chaplain on an 8 ½” x 11” piece of cream-colored paper, was carefully folded into a card with green and red Christmas bells on the front, then copied on whatever color copy machines were around in 1943. Frankly I don’t know how he did it!
Mike and I were moved and inspired by the chaplain’s words, a timeless message about true peace not coming from the material world or through war. His words, poetic, and as poignant today as when they were written 70 years ago, are even more impressive when you consider he wrote them during a “popular” world war.
I share here the chaplain’s message, that you too might find inspiration in it. Which ever holiday your faith celebrates this time of year, whatever your challenges might have been this year, Mike and I wish you true, inner peace this holiday season, and a New Year full of many blessings.
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22 Dec. 1943
It is now over nineteen hundred years ago since there appeared on the Judean Hills a special sign which led shepherds to search for the Christ Child.
That was a wonderful night in which Jesus slipped into this world. For centuries prophecy had converged towards it, and an ancient prophet had put his finger on the very town where He was to be born. Great events have far-away roots. Heaven knew in advance of this event, and angels dipped their white wings into this night and kindled its sky into strange radiance, while they showered their song upon the pasture-field.
We have swept the heavens with a telescope, we have caught and weighed the stars, and in our blind materialism we have thought there was nothing there but what we could see.
But the greatest Universe is a world of Spirit, and it is crowded with activities of which we never dream.
Today we are almost totally engrossed in the effort to bring peace back to this Universe. We are doing it in a material way. It is the only way our enemies can be dealt with at this present moment. They have not chosen to trust to anything which they cannot touch with their hands.
But unless we find in life something more than mere materialism, the race which we buy with the sword will not endure.
It was for the purpose of acquainting men with the lasting peace that Jesus, the Son of God, made His appearance those long centuries ago. He came to offer this peace to the troubled hearts of the centuries.
Since His coming many have taken His life, message, and gift seriously and found that He does actually supply a “Peace that passeth understanding” and which does enduring.
To you He offers Himself again this season as the PRINCE OF PEACE.
It is your Chaplain’s sincere desire that this season will afford for you more happiness and enjoyment than you may even now anticipate. And may the year which is ahead bring to you the attainments which will afford you the greatest pleasures.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace and Goodwill toward all men.”
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