07 December 2009

Christmas an Opportunity to Surprise Others

As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist.

Christmas is close and coming. There is usually a different feel around Christmas time.

I feel that Christmas means so many things to so many people. Also that it has many different names across the world. But I think it can be broken down into one word: Love.

I have always loved Christmas stories. It helps serve as a reminder of the way Christmas once was, and what it can mean for us today. A story also helps bring out the true meaning of Christmas. As such, I want to retell a tale that I heard. I think you will like it.

This story is the experience of Lee W. Maloy who served as a Merchant Marine for the United States during World War II.

It was Christmas Eve in 1944. His ship was approaching the Straits of Gibraltar, heading for the North Atlantic to get to the United States and then to arrive home.

It was a stormy night at sea. The sea was covered in white caps, making it nearly impossible for them to see anything on the horizon. Let alone a submarine’s periscope that was trailing behind them. Naturally, of course, the men were thinking of home and of Christmas, not noticing some of the small details they would have seen on some other day.

Maloy and others eventually saw the plume of the periscope appear off of the port side and knew that the submarine couldn’t be more than 100 meters away. There was no time to ready themselves for a fight or to even protect themselves in some way.

The submarine was already on them. Target in sight. The submarine raised out of the wavy sea. The enemy had them. They knew it. They waited for their destruction.

What happened next, Maloy will never forget. The U-boat started flashing a light. It was Morse code. M-E-R, it began to spell, R-Y-C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. Merry Christmas! Than just as fast as the U-boat had appeared it sunk back into the dark wavy sea and was gone.

They all stood there transfixed on what had just happened. The spirit of Christmas, the spirit of love had prevailed.

May we all let Christmas be a time of forgetting ourselves and our grudges, and a time to help and love others to create peace in our lives and theirs. Maybe then, with our kindness and love, we will surprise those around us.