It is Christmas Eve in Iraq. The sun has been shining bright all day with another tremendous sunset, just like most of the days here. But the cooler weather combined with upbeat spirits and Christmas decorations convey a feeling of Christmas in the air. But it still isn�t home for our folks. Our work is necessary, but it is not without a cost to our troops. For myself I find I am missing to things. The most easily guessed would be my family. I will miss seeing the smiles of my little girls and my wife as the evening progresses. As I sat in the congregation for the evening worship service which the army chaplains lead for the base, I found myself missing those Christmas Eve candlelight services in my parishes back home. I miss the parish from time to time even though there are so many more dimensions of ministry and a much busier tempo than in the parish. I miss many of the fine brothers and sisters in Christ who I have pastored. Today I received 66 boxes of Little Debbie cakes from Dayton Tennessee, part of an effort there lead by dear friends Marilyn and Teddy. I miss you guys.
But it is a joy to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed in Iraq. Tomorrow night will be Christmas. I will hold a service of celebration with carols and candles and the Good News that our sins are forgiven in Christ Jesus will be proclaimed. I take care of my troops in all sorts of way on all kinds of levels, but the one that gives me the greatest joy is by proclaiming the Gospel to them as they come to hear what God has in store for them. Yes, being away from family has a cost, during the holidays, but there is also a joy and a need.
May God bless you this Christmas.