Let your heart be light. . .from now on our troubles will be out of sight. . .”

The winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, has now passed. Each day henceforth, the light increases, precisely the reason why celebrating the Incarnation on December 25th is so meaningful in the northern hemisphere. The Light of the World came to dispel the darkness forever.  Mirrored in the landscape of Earth and sky, that hope shines brightly during the Christmas season.

In 1969, more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel were stationed in Viet Nam. There were 11,780 American soldiers dead that year, countless more Vietnamese. In June, I had just returned from doing a USO tour of the east-west Mediterranean, entertaining the troops stationed to protect our NATO allies, most having already served tours in Viet Nam. I was deeply affected by the casualties of war, having seen the desperate look in the eyes of so many young men. That December, I was asked to sing at a Christmas party for a large department store in my home town. I chose to perform “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” because I wanted to uplift the hearts of families who had sons fighting or killed in the war. We were hanging onto hope that “our troubles will be out of sight,” as this emotionally-packed song lyrics crescendo. There was not a dry eye when the song ended, a sign of a deep inner strength best expressed in this human “holy water.”

In March of 2020, the darkness of sickness and death due to a world-wide pandemic descended upon us.  At first, there was nothing but fear and dread, no light in the darkness. Then came the vaccines which shot hope into our lives again. Like the waxing and waning of the moon, hope restores our faith and increases our love.  This is life in all its complexities.

On this fourth day of Christmas, may we allow the light of this ever-present hope warm and inspire us.


  1. The POWs in the Vietnam War still moves me to much sadness. They are lights in that dark battle.
    Happy you brought joy to our brave troops.


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