Since we were children, all of us have always loved to listen with glee and recite that age old and classic festive poem, ‘Twas the Night before Christmas!’
This week, we will present a very special version of this all-time favourite verse, which was written by a peace-keeping soldier overseas, and is dedicated to our Canadian service men and women who are serving or have served in the armed forces for countless decades for us with many giving the supreme sacrifice.
T’was the night before Christmas
He lived alone, in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who, in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand, and on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sober thought, came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was so dark and dreary, and I knew that I had found the home of a soldier once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, curled up on the floor in this tiny one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder, not how I pictured, A Canadian Soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read, curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the world, the children would play, and the grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye, and I dropped to my knees, and started to cry.
The soldier awakened, and I heard a rough voice, ‘Please don’t cry Santa, this life is my choice!’
I fight for our freedom, I don’t ask for more, my life is my God, my Country my Corp.
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep, then I couldn’t control it, and I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still, and we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold and dark night, this guardian of honour so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over and with a voice so soft and pure, he whispered ‘Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas Day, and all is secure.’
One look at my watch and I knew he was right, so I fought back the tears and expressed my all-time favourite greeting…‘Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!’
At this most precious time of the year, as we gather together with family and friends to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, let us say a little prayer for our unsung heroes who have and always will fight for our rights and our freedom.
All the very best to everyone from my family to yours, for a very Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year 2017.
No stress. There is still a few more days left to finish our Christmas shopping and the deep freeze has melted just a little, so just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.