I want to take a few moments today, Christmas Eve 2010, to wish all of my readers a very blessed Christmas and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year. The holiday season can be stressful with so much to do; presents to wrap, trips to take, and parties to attend. Sometimes it's easy to get so buried with the work of the season that we don't often experience the love and wonder of it. My hope for each of you is that you feel the joy far more than the stress.
The most significant Christmas fact I've ever been able to find associated with Abraham Lincoln comes from his final Christmas in 1864. On December 22, General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote to President Lincoln the following message:
"I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns, plenty of ammunition, and about 25,000 bales of cotton."
The photo above is the original transcription of the telegraph which Sherman sent to the president. The capture of Savannah by Union forces marked the end of Sherman's "March To The Sea" when his forces cut a swath of destruction across Georgia, effectively demoralizing the heart of the Confederacy.
Lincoln's reply was heartfelt, expressing "many, many thanks" for the gift. He also admitted that he had been fearful of Sherman's success, especially when Sherman proposed to divide his army during the campaign. He sent the letter to Sherman on December 26, 1864.
That Christmas of 1864 saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers, Union and Confederate, away from their loved ones and families as they continued the struggle for the direction of the United States. As we celebrate Christmas 2010, let us not forget the brave soldiers of today who are far away from their families as they are stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign lands.
We are forever in their debt.