Letter Home: Christmas Season

Grace and Peace to you on the anniversary of Our Lord bringing Light to the World, via the Word made flesh.

We all know the story but this is the reading that the Marines and I took to all of those standing watch on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here at KCIA. Additionally, everyone standing the watch received a care package made from the efforts and donations of you all! Those standing watch did not have the option to go to Church. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to bring the message to them. May Our Lord be praised! Scroll to the end of the reading for the rest of the letter.

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke, chapter 2:

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you:

You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Our Christmas Eve festivities began at 1600 with a trip to the Warrior Transition Unit. It was at the WRU that we had a party with 35 injured or sick Sailors, Airman, Soldiers and Marines. The Corpsman that work the WRU really went out of their way may to make a Day Room into a festive place for a Christmas Party. Each of the service-members received a wrapped gift. (courtesy of the United States Marine Corps, United States Navy and of course all of your help!). We were only able to stay for about an hour and then we pressed on to the Naval Hospital located on the same base as the WRU. The census was down at the hospital. We only had two patients there. They had both had surgery on Christmas Eve and were sleeping and could not be disturbed. We dropped off some gifts and cards along with holiday food for a party that they were having and headed back to our own base.

Next in our plan was to bless all of the watch-standers manning up their post and keeping us safe. Many of these great Americans do not even appear to be High School graduates, but of course they are. At our base it is the Air Force that provides our security. All of the Marines and I assured them that we had all manned a post before, thousands of miles from home on Christmas! We wanted to make them laugh, catch them off guard, and despite their duties enjoy a few minutes of Christmas Joy and fellowship. We were dressed in garb, decorated the Humvee with Christmas Lights and talking ornaments, had Saint Nicholas personally deliver boxed presents (supplied by you) and read the Gospel Story for Christmas.

At those outposts and at the WRU we had Church! It was only a service of the Word, but “where two or three are gathered in my name I am in the midst.”

On Christmas Day, our little Communion service only had 3 present, everyone else was working! Thanks be to God. We were able to have Holy Communion in a Muslim country. We were able to proclaim the Word of the Lord in the desert, just like the prophets of old! Enclosed are a few photos of our desert joy!

May God truly Bless you and keep you now and forever!

Fr. Dean

Chaplain Dean R. Van Brunt, LT, USN
MSgt James Fogg, USMC
Patient Administration Tracking Team
MCE – KUWAIT

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