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U.S. Navy Chaplain Preaches Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve
Contact: Bishop Janice Hollis, 215-694-6376; Military Bible Association
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Dec. 25, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Dr. Verna Linzey:
On Saturday, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011, at 1900 hours, at the Marine Memorial Chapel, LT Justin Hayes, CHC, USN, representing the Grace Brethren Church, under the pressure of the shortage of Evangelical Chaplains, single-handedly and flawlessly executed his Commanding General's religious support program under the watchful eye of the Senior Chaplain, Captain Ollis Mozon, CHC, USN, whose duty was to supervise and make the rounds, visiting various Christmas Eve services on base. I attended with my son, Chaplain, Major James F. Linzey, ARNG (Ret.)
"It's a great night to celebrate Christ's birth," LT Hayes told the packed out chapel of some 300 Marines and their wives and children. Immediately, the Marines knew this was all about Jesus Christ, as confirmed by the opening prayer when this obviously-experienced Chaplain led the Marines in the confession of sins in the name of Jesus Christ for a clean conscience and pure heart toward God. The newcomers learned what the regular attendees already knew--LT Hayes is culturally and spiritually relevant as a Chaplain for all people of all faiths--enlistees and officers alike. This officer is destined for success, as confirmed by the relevant content and superb delivery of his sermon.
For the sermon began with many teens' nightmares of impregnating their girlfriends and having to deal with the fallout and answer to their parents. Chaplain Hayes reverently and discreetly illustrated in this manner what Joseph dealt with when Mary was found to be with child. Joseph, being a respectable and devout adult in his devout community when he encountered his nightmare, undoubtedly answered to his father who not only trained him in his carpentry trade as a service to the community of the faithful, but also taught him matters of integrity, righteousness, and reverence in the fear of God. As the Lieutenant rhetorically asked if faced with such a dilemma, "What would you do? Fall apart?"
In an age when US Marines must watch for legal and moral blunders in order to re-enlist, some Marines, like some personnel of other Armed Forces and even like citizens in the general populous, sometimes face this very issue. LT Hayes brought this point home quite clearly in his outstanding sermon. As he articulated, when an unfaithful wife or husband is found out, dreams are crushed, pain is often numbed with alcohol, and people lash out. Others seek justice, demand harsh punishment, and pursue every legal means possible so as to not be humiliated and shamed. Not Joseph! He undoubtedly sought counsel, considered putting Mary away privately, and maintained his integrity. But then, as the Lieutenant pointed out, Joseph heard the voice of God, remained obedient to God, and took Mary as his lawful wedded wife. Consequently, his nightmare turned into a dream-come-true when she gave birth to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ, the only Savior of the world, by whom men may be saved from their sins, and before whom men must take a knee.
We have choices to make. We can follow apparent distractions by implementing destructive coping mechanisms, or we can keep our focus on Jesus Christ in the midst of our nightmares, and maintain our integrity and righteous manners with a clean conscience before God, until He makes our dreams come true.
The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at this quaint chapel was tremendously enhanced with Christmas Carols which were only about Christ and which were therefore truly uplifting to the Marines. This multi-talented Lieutenant also served as the worship leader, directing each song with the backing of one of the finest women's quartets ever to be found anywhere. Mrs. Becca Hayes complimented and completed her husband's ministry in an exemplary fashion when she provided the backdrop for her husband's sermon by reading Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus Christ. This example of a Chaplain and his wife is the right model for US Marines and Sailors today, and also for Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen, especially at Christmas time.