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"Merry Christmas!" I shouted

"Merry Christmas!" I shouted to a woman on the street

But she didn't hear me

Her misty eyes stared halfway round the globe

Where her son was lost in Afghanistan

And never found his way home.

"Merry Christmas!" I cried to an old gent in the alley

But he didn't hear me

He was dragging a cardboard box to another address

Moving his house to a friendlier neighborhood

Wondering where he belonged.

"Merry Christmas!" I heralded to the working man

But he didn't hear me

His hope was still at the locked gate of a factory

Where his job once was

What would he tell his family?

"Merry Christmas!" I called to the mother of three

But she didn't hear me

She had just won a long, hard fight

To become an ex-wife

And her victory smelled of ruin and ashes.

"Merry Christmas," I spoke to the elder in a rocking chair

But he didn't hear me

His mind was back in 1950

Where he was young and handsome and strong

He had never gotten acquainted with the stranger they called 2017.

"Merry Christmas," I whispered to the new widow

But she didn't hear me

Words of cheer were overpowered by grief

And loneliness smothered her smile

Maybe next month she will lift her head.

"Merry Christmas," I mumbled under my breath

But I didn't believe it

Hardship, misfortune and bitterness had surrounded me

And my spirit had given up

And surrendered without a fight.

"Merry Christmas, Mister!" exulted a little child

Three times he caroled it before I heard

Cheer up and get singing he coaxed

Nobody's going to feel joy around here

Until you and I and some angels join in a chorus.

"Merry Christmas!" sang the child and I to the world

And this time the world heard us

Because the child was the son of God

And we sang of peace, healing, comfort and hope

Won't you please join in the chorus?

NOTE: This column has been a regular feature here because of the continued presence of American servicemen and women in dangerous war zones around the globe. At present there are 11,000 American troops in Afghanistan, 4,000 in Syria, 5,000 in Iraq, 35,000 in South Korea and 40,000 in Japan. Servicemen and women are dying weekly, though actual numbers are difficult to dig out. The latest to die was Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabender, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska. Pray for our troops.

Order Lynn Hummel's new book, The Last Word (171 articles, 310 pages) by sending $15.00 plus $3.00 postage ($10.00 plus postage for additional books) to Pony Express Books, 1948 Long Bridge Road, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, or order at: bevlyn@arvig.net.

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