“A Soldier’s Silent Night” was written by Marine Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt originally, but later adapted by Father Ted Berndt.
Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this dwelling did live.
As I looked all around, a strange sight to see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings on the mantel, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant lands.
Medals and badges, awards of every kind,
a sobering thought came alive in my mind.
This house was different, it was dark, it was dreary.
I had found the home of a soldier,
I could see that most clearly
The soldier lay sleeping, silent,alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
His face was so gentle, the room in such disorder
Not at all how I picture the United States Soldier,
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, a floor for a bed?
Then I realized the other families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to soldiers, who were willing to fight.
In the morning round the world children would play
Grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
But they all enjoyed freedom, each month of the year,
because of soldiers like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a lands far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
The soldier awakened,I heard his rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”
The soldier rolled over, and drifted to sleep,
but I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours so silent and still.
as both of us shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
this guardian of honour so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, and in a voice soft and pure,
He whispered,”Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all’s secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, may God bless you this night.