Last week I saw this image briefly displayed on my television in a commercial for our armed forces. It was so impressive I had to play it back. It spoke volumes to me. So I went to my computer to see if I could find it. It took no time at all. This photo is from the dailymail.co.uk web site with the caption below.
Appearing to hover in midair, this is the astonishing moment a U.S. Special Forces Paratrooper was snapped throwing a salute to his comrades while jumping backwards out of a plane over Germany. Despite being nearly 17,000ft in the air, the soldier, from the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, appears completely unfazed as he leaves the C-130 Hercules aircraft. The stunning photograph was captured during a training mission over a U.S. Special Forces Parachute Jump drop zone on February 24. The 10th Special Forces group was founded in 1952 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but was split in 1953 with one half being sent to Germany, while the other half folded into the 77th Special Forces Group. The unit regularly takes part in training exercises with NATO allies in Europe, and has served in the Gulf wars, carried out humanitarian missions, and helped to train Middle Eastern forces.
This image got me thinking about how fortunate and blessed we are “back home” this Christmas season because of those men and women who faithfully serve in our armed forces (as well as our first responders here at home).
So what’s the big deal?
The deal is, we have thousands of volunteers in our military. During this holiday season (and every other day of the year) they continually stand watch over us and our allies. They do so so we can sleep in peace at night. They do so that we can worship as we choose. They do so so we can freely and openly criticize our government when they make poor decisions. They do so so evil will not go challenged. They heroically stand in the gap between good and evil, saying, “Nothing is going to happen to you – not on my watch.”
One of the greatest gifts we enjoy in America is our freedom. But freedom comes at a high cost, not only financially to our government (which is you and me), but freedom is also costly for those who serve and their families in terms of dollars, disabilities and even death. Those in our military branches are due our respect, gratitude and most importantly our prayers and support.
Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13 NASB)
The active verb in this passage is of course “love.” However, closely read the second sentence. In this sentence Jesus is not only referring to himself as a “friend” to the disciples, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, but He is also including the disciples in the decisions they will have to make. Pause for a moment and consider what our service men and women are about. Aren’t they making that same decision? Serving in the military is not just about an income/job, or the G.I. bill or the life skills they may develop.
Serving in the military is nothing less than an act of love for our country, its people – you and me.
Contemplate the images below and remember our military and their families in your prayers. Pray for their safety and that of their families. Pray also for the families of those who didn’t make it home alive, for they too have paid a high price for us to celebrate our freedom and Christmas. Pray also for those Christian and Jewish brothers and sisters being persecuted in the middle-east for their faith in our Father G-d.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas.
I will post the next posting in the series on prayer after the first of the year. Until then, be well and be blessed,