It’s the Time of the Year When I Add Hot Cocoa to My Coffee
I love this time of year! It’s winter time, cold and perfect for cocoa in my coffee. I’m from the Pacific Northwest so I actually love the rain, the cold, and the snow. I put my first packet of cocoa in my coffee this morning and headed out the door. I felt like a little kid, all happy and cozy inside just thinking about sipping my cocoa/coffee while sitting in traffic. Local high school baseball teams are selling Christmas trees in church parking lots, and radio stations are starting to play Christmas music. It’s the “giving season.” People decorate their cars like Rudolph; some even put wreaths on the front of their cars. Santa Clauses ring jingle bells outside of Wal-Mart and say Merry Christmas! I think WalMart says Merry Christmas. I haven’t heard which stores are saying Happy Holidays and which ones are brave enough to say Merry Christmas. With such an emphasis on the economy and the war, maybe people aren’t getting all worked up over that this season.
I just want to pause and think about the troops serving in far off lands, in dangerous battle zones, and away from their families. As I sip my warm coffee and sit in Atlanta traffic, they are probably boiling water over a fire and drinking instant coffee in the dark in the desert. While I enter a warm heated building, they are probably entering a battlefield. While I am cleaning dishes, they are probably cleaning their weapons from a day of heavy fire. While I sit and watch the news from my couch, they are on the news! When I pray with my kids at night, they are praying for their kids from across the globe. When I hold my husband’s hand, they are probably looking at the wedding ring on their hand, wishing they could be next to their loved one. They live in constant sacrifice mode. There are many parents who have lost children, spouses who have lost their life-partners, children who have lost parents; so many have paid the ultimate price for the freedom that the rest of us enjoy. Words are not enough for me to try to respond appropriately to their loss. They fall drastically short of sufficiency for the price they have paid.
All I can offer is the invitation of asking you to stop, to pause, and to pray, and reflect on those warriors who fought, and who fight for the freedom we reside in on a daily basis. I can’t help but remember how so many communities came together after 9/11. People flooded churches looking for peace and hope in the midst of overwhelming fears. People seemed to stop long enough and they began to think in terms of sacrifice for the sake of others. It was as if the US stood still and decided to stand-firm for the cause of freedom and for the sake of strangers. In the unfathomable loss, we – as a nation – were one. We suffered and rose up as one body, one voice, one heart, one nation.
How is it that this immense outpouring stopped? You see, the soldiers continue to fight, sacrifice and unite together on the battlefield. They have not ceased in their determination and their urgency for the mission. What, then, are we doing back home? Have we gotten complacent in our comfort? Have we just become self-absorbed again? What about the warriors who continue to stand-firm in the midst of unfathomable fears? I invite you to pause and pray for them, for their families, for blessings to abound and outnumber their pain and fears. Soldiers have lost limbs and are learning to walk with prosthetic devices as we put our shoes on like any other day and walk out of our front doors. Their lives have been forever altered; can we alter our perspectives, focus on their sacrifice, and pray for them? I ask you to ask God to comfort and protect them in the midst of their battles. There are active battles on the battlefields, and there are new battles that soldiers face as they come home and endure rehabilitation and reunification with loved ones. They are not the same person who deployed 6 months or 6 years ago; they have new battles to endure.
So, as we sit on the comfortable couches and as we drink warm coffee/cocoa, I ask you to pause and pray and say, “Thank you Warriors! Thank you for standing firm so I can walk in freedom today; Thank you!” In the silence of your prayer, you won’t hear heavenly music, the sky won’t open up, and nobody will clap. It will just be you, your quiet whisper, and a moment of pause as your petition to God to give strength and grace to a soldier, a spouse, a parent, or a child of a solider… it won’t seem particularly exceptional for you at that moment, but I can promise you that God will hear you, and God will embrace, lift up, and show Himself to the warrior on the battlefield, the spouse who lies awake at night, wondering, praying, and to the parent or child of a soldier – God will go to them as you pray and He will encourage, protect, and strengthen them.
So, please, pray. Petition to God – let God know that we know that He is God. God wants to know that we trust Him – that we need Him (just as much as we needed him after 9/11) and just as much as we needed Him when His Son died on the cross for our sins. Let us not grow complacent in our dependency on Christ. And please, let us not forget our soldiers who sacrifice continually from afar.
Yes, it is the giving season, but know this: God gave His Son, and He continues to give His love to us. Soldiers give their lives, and continue to sacrifice daily. For Christ, and for warriors on the battlefields, it’s not the giving “season.” It’s a continual, giving, sacrificing, steadfast way of service 7 days a week, 24/7. Their sacrifices never cease to occur – so let us never cease to remember.
As the spirit of Christmas surrounds us, let us ask God to surround our nation with the love and strength of Christ, and let us ask God to shower His grace and strength on our warriors in far-away lands who continually stand-firm so that we can stand in lines to buy Christmas trees, enjoy hay rides, and sip cocoa. As you grab your coffee/cocoa and heat up your car, remember those who sit by a fire and who stand under fire, and please, pause and pray, and have the faith to praise God for equipping them to be victorious!
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.