Today "’Merry Christmas Uncle George and Aunt B…


“‘Merry Christmas Uncle George and Aunt Brenda’ signed Philip 76″…then

Signal Flags G and T up on the ship. A young man salutes in memory of his beloved uncle…then

Pushing out to sea. Going to a war zone. Taking men to land on the beach of the Euphrates River in Baghdad…now.

Today my cousin Phil Thornburgh ships out of San Diego harbor with about 5,000 other Sailors and Marines. Today Tania will be saying good bye to her new husband. Today my Aunt will cry. Today my Uncle will make jokes. Today I sit and stare…thinking.

I think about this war. I think about how it has torn families apart. I think about the grief it has caused the 1,259 families…and counting. I think about the at least 15,000 Iraqi familes suffering the same grief. I think about how the suffering is universal. I think about how mothers 6,500 miles apart pray the same prayer. Cry the same tears. Feel the same pain. I think about the father of children I babysat. I think about him sitting in Baghdad wishing to be with his family this Christmas. I think about his son, a child I babysat, possibly going to join his father. I think about Phil.

I pray everyday that this mess ends. I pray for the safety of our troops. I pray for the safety of the Iraqis and Afganis. I pray for peace to come to a land that has too long been in the grip of war. I pray that our leaders take of the rose colored glasses and see the mess we are in. I pray that we, Americans, remember the teachings of Christ and serve with humility our world.

In this season of waiting, I pray for the Spirit of the Living God to fall a fresh on us…all of us.

Phil, George and the many others know that you are loved.



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