Larkin Spivey Finding Faith In War

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Message from the Past

Corvettes were small naval vessels used in convoy escort duty during World War II.  They were smaller than destroyers and had even fewer amenities for the crew.  The quarters were cramped, and the ride was rough, especially in the North Atlantic during the winter months.  Frank Curry spent several years on board the Canadian Navy corvette, HMCS Kamback, operating out of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  After a rough at-sea period the Kamback returned to port on December 24.  Curry described his first shipboard Christmas and the brief opportunity to relax for a day:

Christmas Day—and what a day.  My first one aboard a ship, but, from the looks of things, not my last.  Up at 0800 (among our rare gifts, and a most welcome change).  We hosed down the decks and cleaned ship.  Decorated our mess decks and tied a small Christmas tree to the masthead—apparently another old, old tradition of the sea.  I got feeling pretty merry on the punch which the Old Man fixed personally in the seaman’s messdeck.  We had a tremendous dinner—all the officers in a very congenial mood for a change—they were almost human. 

In our modern world it is easy to lose appreciation for simple pleasures.  On this Christmas day during wartime, this seaman didn’t receive a lot of extra benefits.  Sleeping late, a special punch, and a good meal were about all there was.  The ship still had to be cleaned in spite of the occasion.  Still, these little amenities were appreciated and made this a special day. 
            It would be well if we could also do less during the Christmas season and enjoy the simple pleasures of our family and the Christmas story.  It has unfortunately become trite to say that we need to ‘put Christ back into Christmas.’  Nevertheless, this is the only way that we will ever simplify this increasingly turbulent time of year.  Our entire purpose should be to focus on the Christ child and the beauty of his story: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son” (John 3:16).

The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

This story is from Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II, Dec. 24, p. 430.