The executive director of the Christian Missionary Alliance's chaplain endorsing agency, Rev. Robert W. Collins, II, Chaplain (LTC), U.S.Army(Ret.), sent me this message about praying for deployed troops during the holidays. Thank you, Chaplain Collins, for sharing these thoughts and prayers with us.
"Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for military families. Many are serving at installations far from home, family and friends. Others have a loved one deployed, making it hard to focus on the 'reason for the season' as they anxiously mark the days until their family member's return.
In addition to the pains of separation during the holidays, many National Guard and Reserve families experience reduced income while the breadwinner is deployed, making gift exchanges problematic. Deployed personnel have limited opportunities to shop, and gifts sent to them are subject to customs limitations, and must be mailed by late November or early December to arrive by Christmas.
The absence of a parent or other family member during the holiday season invariably dampens the joy of a family celebration of the Savior's birth, and many military families opt to delay 'Christmas' until the return of their loved one.
Churches can help mitigate the 'holiday blues' for military families by reaching out to encourage and involve them in holiday activities to ease some the stresses they face.
Remember our deployed troops in your prayers during the upcoming holidays. Here are some specific requests you can make on their behalf.
- Lord Jesus, as we celebrate your birth this Christmas, may we also remember military families who are separated by the requirements of their service.
- Blessed Savior, be especially with those women who, like your mother Mary, may be giving birth over the holidays, yet can not fully enjoy the experience because their husband is deployed.
- Gracious Lord, bless and protect those who defend our nation in distant lands during this special time, and give them the joy of the season even though they're away from home and family.
- Heavenly Father, shower our chaplains with your grace and bless their ministry of presence as they remember your son's birth with the troops.