A Christmas sky in Iraq

The night sky over Iraq on Christmas will shine more brightly, not only because it contains the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem — 'Star of wonder, Star of light, star of royal beauty bright' — but because it will shimmer anew with a panoply of recent sidereal wonders.

Arcing over the width and breadth of that ancient land, the Tigris and Euphrates reflecting their glimmering glory, will be a new constellation of bright shining stars.

We now celebrate the birth on that silent night, holy night, of one whose life signaled mankind's redemption.

Since American forces liberated Iraq several thousand heroes have given their last full measure of devotion in the noble cause of redeeming that country and its people.

In the deep, holy firmament over Iraq on Christmas that new constellation, the eternal  spirits of those who have died, will form an incandescent halo encircling the newly democratic Iraq.

And we think of them and we pray for them as they sleep in heavenly peace.

John B. Dwyer is a military historian. This essay is adapted from his Christmas essay of last year.