I hesitated to write this post. I almost didn’t, but I feel like part of the reason I keep this blog is to keep myself very honest. And thinking about war and what started it and how people got through it today, I just felt like I needed to say something. Even though everyone else is writing about their favorite Elf in the Shelf antics.
I took some time to read about Christmas during the war. People still celebrated–it was just a little more muted, a little less flashy and, it seems to me, a bit more intentional.
There was a lot of rationing. Every available resource was sent to help with the war effort.
I have always taken time every 7th of December to remember. And to be still. It somehow feels right. I usually take a moment to sit in a cozy chair by the fireplace and watch the twinkling lights of the tree and just…listen.
The tragic numbers don’t fully convey the depth of agony of Pearl Harbor. The grainy film gives only a sliver of understanding of what went on that day. And how much pain it caused for so many. Thousands of brothers and sons, fathers and husbands–gone.
And the ripples of all those beautiful lives snuffed out in a few hellish hours…
Still felt today. Still remembered.
It still hurts. Our nation still takes this day to grieve. 72 years later it still makes my heart hurt a little to think about it.
And this Christmas, I feel a bit muted and a little less–flashy. And hopefully a little more intentional.
You see, I feel like we’ve had another Pearl Harbor.
Thousands of husbands and brothers, sons and fathers. Gone. Their vitality gone. The sweet, innocent smiles of boys just turning into men–vanished. Snuffed out. Sometimes in hours, sometimes seconds…sometimes a little longer.
Unfortunately, in this war, the shrapnel flies out and hits the entire family–they are all the walking wounded, just trying to survive, some not even knowing where the blast came from.
My friend–a beautiful, beautiful woman. She thinks she is fat. She is absolutely stunningly not fat. She feels self-conscious. Dumb. Not very good at anything. Things are good one day, then tears the next. The kids are worried, scared. Waiting for the next bomb to drop, not even able to understand what the enemy is.
There are no resources. Love, smiles, and patience are rationed. All available resources are being exhausted fighting this war.
And in the midst of this war, Christmas still comes. And the wounded women, trying to force smiles through tears, trying to ignore the poison of words far too long felt, if not spoken:
I am not enough. There is something wrong with me.
Fighting with all they have to quell the roar that threatens to drown out any sense of self–they stagger out of their bedroom with a smile that comes from some strength they don’t even know they have and face their children.
Everything is shattered, burnt, sunk.
But no one knows. No one sees. No one suspects they are suffering from wounds that go deep.
They hide them.
Because they don’t know who will understand. After all, a lot of people will tell you that this enemy is “not a big deal,” that these bombs aren’t really bombs at all–they are just colored smoke from the Fourth of July. A lot of people will laugh it off, while you are bleeding to death underneath your armor, saying the enemy can’t hurt you.
But it’s not true.
I’ve seen it.
I’ve watched the many deaths of marriages and families–and sadly, sometimes, the men themselves as this enemy continues to attack. And then, in a final, sardonic twist, the enemy possesses the soul of its victim, robbing him of any sense of worth as the victim becomes the abuser of himself.
Pearl Harbor had an advantage we don’t. People saw the danger. They rallied. They understood the enemy. They didn’t try to downplay it as if it didn’t happen or didn’t exist. They cared.
In this war, I only wish it were so.
Pornography and the pornographic culture of America is killing us, family by family. And it doesn’t take time off for Christmas.
So I am writing this because I want everyone who is wounded–everyone who is being attacked–everyone who has been hit with the shock–the sinking of all they thought they had only to be replaced with devastation and disbelief–to those who are fighting this enemy–I stand with you.
You are not alone.
You are loved and beautiful and courageous and…
You heard me.
You are enough. You are good enough.
Even if you lost your temper. Even if you couldn’t get up until noon because you just couldn’t face anything.
Even if you can’t sleep at night.
You are enough.
And I am praying for you.
As I watch the twinkling lights and see the beauty of the season, I am praying for you and hoping for you and sending my strength your way.
As I listen to your stories and attempt to in some way try and assuage your deep wounds, I say to you, “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.” He hears your cries.
You are not alone. We are going to beat this. We are going to fight this until we rid ourselves of it.
We are going to get them back. Maybe not all of them, but many of them. There is hope. All it takes is the will to change, to rid ourselves of this–there is help out there. There are ways to heal. There are ways to recover. All is not lost.
We are going to win. There are people gathering, rallying around you. It will take time, but we will prevail.
I echo the words of King George the Sixth, spoken to a war torn England:
The festival which we know as Christmas is above all the festival of peace and of the home….True peace is in the hearts of men, and it is the tragedy of this time that there are power[s] whose whole direction and policy are based on aggression and the suppression of all that we hold dear for mankind.
…We feel in our hearts that we are fighting against wickedness, and this conviction will give us strength from day to day to persevere until victory is assured.
A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle we shall remain undaunted.
In the meantime I feel that we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words, I would like to say to you: ‘I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”‘
May that Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all.