Since this is the closest I'm ever likely to be to Bethlehem on Christmas, I've been soaking up the ambience as much as possible. Last night I was scanning the skies for the Star of Bethlehem...thought I saw it, but it turned out to be a countermeasure flare from a C-17. Early this morning, as I was cat-napping through a Nyquil-induced haze, I heard the Muslim Call to Prayer being broadcast from the nearby mosque, and it struck me how non-commercial the holiday has been over here. I've been truly blessed to receive care packages from family and friends, filled with special gifts which have brought a reminder of home, and definitely chosen with a lot of thought and kindness. My sister even surprised me by sending tins of two different spice cookies which were specialties of my mom and my grandmother. Hadn't had those for over 30 years! On my desk, there's a small Christmas Tree, covered with ornaments...the smiling faces of my colleagues at my civilian job back home...All day, I just have to glance up from my case files to be greeted with Kodak grins! Sure makes it easier to be here.
So, even though I'm under the weather, forted up in my CHU with supplies of Kleenex, Nyquil (also known as the "Baghdad Buzz"), Ricola cough drops, and a way cool retro video game console complete with Pac Man, Galaga, Pole Position, Frogger, etc., I am having a very Merry Christmas! Thank you all very much for your FB greetings, emails, photos, and other creative ways to keep my spirits up! "Police Navidad!" from The Fighting Leprechaun.