How To Fill Yourself With The Christmas Spirit.

Meridian - 26751
By Meridian - 26751 Latest Reply 2009-01-05 08:09:53 -0600
Started 2008-12-20 09:59:26 -0600

Christmas of 1987 had all the markings of the saddest I would ever experience. My wife, son and daughter were in Virginia, the rest of my family in Michigan, and I was in Korea.

I was a trumpet player and Operations Sergeant in the Second Infantry Division Band. In the month prior to Christmas I had sent four piece ensembles to every corner of the DMZ. The holiday music was well appreciated as we did our part to instill joy and happiness into our fellow soldiers.

Christmas lights, trees, and wreaths were displayed throughout the Division along with the ever present hint of snow in the evening air. The last thing I looked at before falling asleep Christmas Eve was the stack of wrapped presents setting under my foot tall Christmas tree and the cards sent to me by family and friends. I don’t believe I have ever felt so alone.

On Christmas morning I and the four other musicians calling ourselves the Velvet Brass played for the church service at the Stone Chapel, then headed to the mess hall. The mess sergeant had pulled out all the stops. The hall was beautifully decorated and the staff had spent all night preparing a feast fit for the occasion, but there was still something missing. As I looked around the mess hall I felt and witnessed the most sadness I had ever seen in my life. We had everything the army could provide us…we had little or nothing of what we really needed.

As we walked back to our barracks our conversation turned to home, loneliness, and family. Without one dissenting vote the Velvet Brass members grabbed our instruments and headed back to the mess hall to give something back to the staff. To say they appreciated our special thank you is an understatement. One thing led to another. Other soldiers from the band decided to join us and before we put our horns to bed that night we had played in five mess halls, two chapels and Division Headquarters.

When I returned to the barracks well after dark I finally got a chance to unwrap my Christmas gifts reveling in the love and thoughtfulness that went into each special package. This sixteen hour day, on the other side of the Earth from my family, elbow to elbow with others in the same circumstance, turned out to be the most meaningful Christmas I have ever had.

When the day had dawned I felt hollow. The more I allowed Jesus to fill me that day the more of His joy, love, and peace I was able to share. What I learned that Christmas is that it is not just about the gifts others give us. It is not just about the gifts we give others. It is about experiencing and sharing the gifts we receive from God.


12 replies

Avera 2008-12-22 22:09:19 -0600 Report

I'm bringing this forward. It is a wonderful story for this time of year. I hope more people read it.

Meridian - 26751
Meridian - 26751 2008-12-24 03:29:45 -0600 Report

Thank You Avera. Even though it happened to me over twenty years ago, it remains as fresh in my memory as the day it happened. That day changed my life forever.

2009-01-05 05:08:59 -0600 Report

What a precious story; I am a very quiet person about my religion and beliefs, but I do believe the same as all of you, and love God for what he did for us, and feel that he tests us every day with our faith. Only hope I am worthy enough to join him when the time comes. You have all done such great things in honor of him. And I just pray, and try to be helpful to others' as best I can, and try to be honest and not cruel.

Ken, why did you give up the trumpet; music is one of the beautiful ways you can offer yourself to others' through church events,etc. I grew up with 3 brothers, all musicians, still today. And music makes for such a happy heart. But I too, love your posts, you fill the heart with hope. luv:->)lilmarm52

Meridian - 26751
Meridian - 26751 2009-01-05 05:16:23 -0600 Report

I have spent many hours asking myself that very question. My answer is that I took a hobby, made it a profession, and turned it into a job. When I retired I quit my job.

cardlady 2009-01-05 08:09:53 -0600 Report

I love this story and I love the responses from all of you. It is nice to connect with people who share some of the health issues I have. I am pretty open about my faith and my walk with Christ. My goal in life is to win one person into the fold before the Maker calls me home.I wear a pin the says"Godskid", any time I leave the house and you would be surprised how often it can lead to a conversation with some one I do not know but may be connected with thru Jesus.

Avera 2008-12-20 22:19:45 -0600 Report

Thank you for sharing this with us. You touched my heart. Way back then, you shared your musical talent to bring cheer and again you have done the same. This time with your words. Bless you…


caragypsy 2008-12-20 15:17:31 -0600 Report

This wonderful story touched my heart and I am glad you sheared it with us. God give us all the greatest Christmas gift ever His Son. God Bless You All! Cara

cardlady 2008-12-20 14:15:22 -0600 Report

What a wonderful story. Some times we get so caught up in the season we forget what the true meaning of Christmas really is. I love Christmas day cuz I honor the Man who died on the cross for my sins and I celebrate that He is an awesome person and I am a Child of God.
Merry Christmas,

Pauline B
Pauline B 2008-12-20 11:14:54 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, am a muscisian, and am a percussionist in the Seattle Civic Band. We were scheduled to play 5 concerts this season in a 9 day period but our normally rainy weather turned icy and snowy that resulted in the last 2 being cancelled. Not being to share my God-given talent is a bummer, and that is lonely, even though otherwise I have a lot to be thankful for. Giving towards others always makes me feel better which is why I volunteer in so many different activities. I realize that not all can be so active outside the home, but reaching out with letters and cards can make a difference.

Meridian - 26751
Meridian - 26751 2008-12-20 11:19:23 -0600 Report

What a let down that must have been to have to cancel those performances. When I retired from the army back in 92 I also retired my trumpet. Christmas was and is my favorite time of the year, musically speaking.

Anonymous 2008-12-20 10:05:10 -0600 Report

How beautiful. If everybody would remember that this world would be a much better place. Have a wonderful holiday season. You have such a great spirit about you. I love reading your posts.

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