Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MTCW Pic of the Day (we have two pics today)


(Above): An Afghan man shops for a Christmas tree in Kabul, Afghanistan. This photo alone shows the progress that has been made in this country. Just a few years ago the selling and buying of a Christmas tree would have warranted death to both parties by the Taliban. Today Afghan Christians are able to openly celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ.

US Soldiers celebrate Christmas by attending midnight Catholic Mass on Christmas Eve in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and all of your families. I would like to thank each one of you for your continuous support and for reading My Two Cents Worth. I appreciate it more than you know.

Blogging will be light, if any at all into the new year, as I continue to work on my new blog.

My favorite Christmas poems.

I leave you with two of my favorite Christmas poems. They are both written and about US Servicemembers being away from home during Christmas. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Payment Enough
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,"
Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,
"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,"
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

A Soldiers Christmas
Twas the Night Before Christmas
He lived all 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 Sign did I see,
No Tinsel. No Presents.
Not even a Tree.
No stocking by Mantle,
Just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung a picture
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 dark and dreary
I found the Home of a Soldier
Once I could see Clearly.
The Soldier Lay Sleeping
Silent, Alone
Curled up on the floor
Of this One Bedroom Home.
The face was so Gentle
The room in such Disorder
Not how I pictured
A United States Soldier.
Was This The Hero
Of Whom I 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 Round the World,
The Children Would Play,
And Grown-ups 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 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,
I dropped to my knees,
and I started to Cry.
The Soldier awakened
And I heard A rough voice,
Santa don't cry,
This Life is my Choice.
I fight for Freedom,
I don't Ask for More,
My life is My God,
My Country, My Corps.
The Soldier rolled over,
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn't Control it,
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, dark night,
This Guardian of Honor
So willing to fight.
Then the Soldier rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered 'Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas Day, All is Secure.
'One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
'Merry Christmas My Friend,
And To All A Good Night.'