"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." I have sung that line nearly every Christmas Eve of my life. It never fails to draw tears.
When the song comes around this year, I will think of Mike Lembke, a U.S. Army chaplain serving near Tikrit, Iraq. We've carried on an e-mail correspondence.
The first evening of Advent, he will light candles in an alcove of the ruins of the sixth century Christian chapel on his base. As he does, the candlelight again will ignite flames of hope, a yearning that no loneliness, no pains of unrequited longing, no separation, no brutality or war has ever managed to extinguish.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers