T’was the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see.
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
And on the wall hung pictures of a far-distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I’d heard stories about them; I had to see more.
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene.
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep.
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
Said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
Credit: James M. Schmidt (USMC)
Luke 21:9 “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.”
James 4:2 “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”