Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food for Christmas Thought

I read a book several years ago called Beyond Survival: Building on Hard Times by Captain Gerald Coffee. The book is Coffee's story of his seven-year captivity in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp. One part has stayed with me through the past five or so years and I wanted to share it with you this week. Coffee writes about being alone in his prison cell on Christmas Eve, making little Christmas ornaments from small pieces of candy foil:

In the yellow light my little ornaments glowed and twinkled softly as they bobbed and rotated slowly in the chilly air. And I was immedieately struck by the satisfying simplicity of my Christmas.
I thought more about the birth of the Christ Child and the simplicity of the Nativity. There was nothing to distract me from the pure awesomeness of the story of Chirst's birth--no materialism, commercialism, no food, presents, or glitz. Just me and that little baby....
Everything by which I had measured my identity was denied: my rank, my title, uniform, clothes, money, car, the trappings of my religion. It was just me left--my flesh, bones, intellect, and soul....
I realized that although I was hurting and lonely and scared, this might be the most significant Christmas Eve of my life. The circumstances of this night were helping me to crystallize my understanding of my journey within to find God there, and thereby to see Him everywhere.

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