'Twas just him and his thoughts in that cold and lonely hole,
Awaiting the sergeant's dreaded muster to begin the night's patrol.
For days the weary soldier had been on the line in bitter battle,
'Midst the deafening roar of cannon and the musket's steady rattle!
'Twas Christmas Eve and he was far from home in Afghanistan.
He was barely eighteen years old but had quickly become a man.
In the fading light he read from Luke the story of that Glorious Night,
That gave him hope and warmed his soul despite his precarious plight.
He turned the pages of his Bible to the soothing Twenty-third Psalm,
To read again that beautiful passage - that reassuring message of calm.
A bright star shone over his lonely post reminding him of Bethlehem,
And the star that topped the tree at his home in far away Birmingham.
His thoughts turned to home and better times with his Mom and Dad.
He mused upon Christmases past and the good times that they'd had;
The good food his Mom prepared and presents beneath the tree.
Alas, Christmas dinner this year would be cold coffee and an MRE.
During the lull in battle he saw from afar a winding camel train,
And shepherds herding their bleating flocks across that desolate plain.
Such a peaceful yet poignant scene, he mused, 'midst the gore of war,
Reminding him once again of that first joyous Christmas Eve of yore!
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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