Darkness of War, Light of Christmas

December 22, 2014

This is another in a series of musings by Vietnam veteran and patriot, Forrest L. Gomez. Here he recalls the gradual enlightenment that taught him why it is we celebrate Christmas when the world can seem so dark.



The late 1970s. It was a time of malaise, of lost confidence in America and many of the values we hold dear. Saigon had fallen, the Cambodian killing fields were now part of a horrifying history, a president had to resign, and people in the military seemed to be appreciated by no one except their families and each other.

I was a young soldier stationed in Mainz, Germany with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division. I was well into my second marriage and had two infant daughters. My wife was a professed Christian, and I was not. (She would leave me after 19 years for another man after back sliding, but that’s another story.) I had chosen the Army as a career, and was pretty cocky and confident after surviving two tours in Vietnam, although the nightmares would come back now and then. I had lost my first love in that war, also another story covered in a previous writing, and I won’t retrace that. During those unhappy years for our nation, I had embarked on a bizarre journey in my mind.

I was constantly approached by Christians who would witness to me, their methods being that of concern and compassion for my well-being. This flew in the face of what other non-believers had told me, that most Christians were mean-spirited and aggressive. Anyway, I decided to study the Bible, Christianity, and the history of both so I could beat them in debates. Things didn’t work out quite as I had planned, however. Several miracles occurred in my life, including meeting the former commander of the two Viet Cong main force battalions that had attacked my base camp in 1968. While in Europe, this former enemy had converted to Christianity (Catholic) and became my brother in Christ. I had learned forgiveness then. I was being drawn in by what I was reading (the two volume “The Bible as History” being predominant), and I was always meeting Christians, who treated me with great kindness.

The clincher came when my first daughter was born, I think, but my life had to bottom-out first. Under the influence of alcohol, I did something that almost ruined my married life and career. But then a Christian sergeant in the combat engineers had befriended me, and was witnessing to me tactfully, carefully, and with obvious great concern for my soul. Well, I went and dug him out of his barracks on the night of November 4 1979, and I told him I wanted what he had. I gave my life to Jesus Christ that night, and besides being a soldier for this nation, I became a soldier for Christ. I realized that we are in a lost and dying world, a world still screaming for Barabas, and God sent His Son to give us another chance. Christmas of 1979 was the most important Christmas of my life. I finally realized that, although I was born in the most free nation on earth, and I had fought for that nation and for freedom, that now I was at last truly free. I wanted to liberate others!

Jesus is the reason for the season, and no government or contentious secularist can take that from us. Merry Christmas, my wonderful brothers, sisters, and children everywhere! May our Lord God Jesus Christ be with you all the days of your lives, and beyond!

– Love in Christ, the Sarge

posted by  12/22/14

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