Christmas in the Trenches

christmas outdoor

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.” – Martin Niemoller

By Charlie Johnston

Several people at different sites have pondered whether I erred in saying that the Christmas of 2013 would be our last traditional Christmas until the Storm ended. I consider it to be so, but I was going to say it would not at all offend me if anyone regarded it as an objective error. I was firmly rebuked on the matter, though, for I was reminded that a part of my work is to get people to see a little more from the perspective of eternity rather than the perspective of this world.

We are so self-absorbed that we usually do not concede there is a problem until it shows up right on our doorstep. The familiar prose poem from World War II at the top illustrates this. Tyranny and trouble did not begin when they came for the narrator; it began when they came for the first group and all who were directly unaffected did nothing. When evil rises and you deceive yourself that all is well unless they come for you, you are well deceived. Evil does not stop until it is stopped.

Across wide swaths of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Christians are being murdered en masse, children beheaded and crucified, people burned alive. In much of the west, people are being fired or forced out of business if they won’t swear fealty to the “homosexual” agenda. In many countries of the west, reading verbatim passages from the Bible qualifies as hate speech. Some traditionally European Christian countries have ceded swaths of their territory to brutal sharia law. This last year, anti-Christian activists in America targeted such innocuous symbols of Christmas as candy canes and Santa Claus. In the American military, Christian chaplains and officers are under siege. The Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) quietly acted last October to propose rules that would effectively end private outdoor Christmas lighting in America. The comment period just ended with few even knowing it was proposed. If it is not stopped, the bureaucrats will have established a rule whereby you can be fined and ordered to take down your outdoor Christmas decorations.

You may ask what could we do about such things. We once could have demanded that our nation stand up for the oppressed rather than for the oppressors. But now American government overseers care little about what the folksies think. We once could have tossed out politicians who constrained our freedom. But now unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats file regulations that carry the rule and penalties of law regardless of what we think. We were seduced by tyranny coming with the sweet promise of kindness and care as long as we gave away the power of free men and women to them first. We were chumps who cared more about our comfort than our faith or what was right. We won’t get western civilization back until a great crisis has been reached and passed…we have already let it slip away. Politics has become irrelevant and impotent, except as wielded by those who would further destroy faith and freedom – and then only to lead us closer to the abyss.

In America – and much of the west – Christians are treated with wary official intolerance and hostility by both the government and the culture. The American Dept. of Homeland Security lists Christian “fundamentalists” as potentially dangerous terrorists, while dismissing fears about Jihadists. I have two police officers in my family. American police are now having to carefully choose where they will park, taking care that their site-lines are unimpeded so as to avoid ambush. They are having to rethink how to answer calls, so as not to be pulled into an ambush. They are pulling down their pages on social media so as to protect their families from targeting. The Mayor of the largest city in the country and the President and Attorney General, as well as the establishment media, all encourage and make excuses for those who target the police. Everyone who still believes and lives traditional western and American values is under siege today – not tomorrow, not later, but today. The government and the culture have gotten so big and unresponsive that it seems there is little you can do. To formally complain is more likely to get you on an enemies list than to enact change. Our governments and the media have become an occupying power with values alien to most who just want to live in peace – and hostile to any hint of faith or traditionalism. In the Newspeak that is current, tolerance demands rigidly enforced conformity to what the elite occupiers want.

So what can you do? You can withdraw your allegiance to the government and culture that surround you – and do it in support of your nation. Every community has an organizing principle. It is our fault that, for several generations, we have progressively built that principle around an overweening government and the television set. It does not have to be so. Build your community around your neighbors and your church. Ignore the government, except where it coerces you (admittedly, in many areas). Support your local police. They will be your bulwark if, in its panic, the central government tries to impose Martial Law to quell the crises it has created. I often suspect that is precisely why local police are being so relentlessly vilified by top officials and the media – they know local police will not turn on their neighbors in obeisance to a federal order – so the feds try to create a wedge now between the people and those best poised to defend us.

The federal government is making many mistakes in its efforts to stamp out Christian and traditional cultural practice. The vilification of police was one case. They knew what they were doing. They backed off a little when they got some blowback from the ambush murders of police in New York, Los Angeles and Florida…but not much. With every overreach they think they are getting more powerful and closer to being able to seize command authority. But with every overreach, the mask falls a little further and more people see what has been wrought. You can begin to form and offer allegiance to the smaller more intimate communities that will have to give us all succor as the central government succumbs to its madness and falls apart.

Do not be seduced by false dawns or false promises. I see many were enthused by the closure of a lot of abortion facilities in the last year. I sympathize with the enthusiasm, but it is not what it seems. What is happening is abortion is moving slowly away from the disreputable little clinics that were easy to identify and protest against – and going mainstream, moving into more and more hospitals at a vigorous pace. That was an intended effect of the Obamacare legislation. A few years ago, one of my closest friend’s daughters landed on a prestigious list of the 50 most promising medical students in the country. But she was a serious Catholic and had to consider moving to another field – for some proposed regulations associated with it would have required medical students to be trained in how to safely perform abortions before they could be licensed. The regulation eventually was softened to give some limited rights of conscience, but it was clear that the administration wanted to move abortion out of the abortuaries and into hospitals. Call your hospital and ask what “reproductive services” it offers. Do not be challenging…better to sound as if you may be seeking an abortion. If you call 10 hospitals, you will be shocked at how many are now offering “reproductive services” that include “termination of pregnancy.”

In World War II, the great majority of people never even had to leave their homes. Oh yes, a large minority was killed or displaced, but the majority only had to worry, without ever having the beast descend upon them. It was because of the human propensity to consider nothing really wrong so long as the beast is not in their living room that caused so many tens of millions of people to have to die in that conflagration.

Now, I pray and expect that whatever happens in the next two Christmases of the Storm, I will celebrate it with joy and gratitude. I even hope to have a place to keep warm and, maybe, a tree. But while Amnesty International elevated Christians to the single most persecuted people in the world this last year, while my government defines Christians and pro-lifers as potentially dangerous terrorists, while my government is in the process of trying to ban outdoor electrical Christmas displays, while Christians can be fined, fired, jailed or have their business seized for failing to be sufficiently enthusiastic about homosexual “marriage,” while the American military’s officer corps is being purged of soldiers who do not hide their faith sufficiently well, while you cannot get health insurance without financially subsidizing the execution of infants as a human right, while increasingly you cannot be sure the hospital you go to for treatment does not have a death chamber for infants down the hall, while swaths of the formerly Christian west are being ceded to the control of murderous Jihadist maniacs and their murderous sharia law, while the highest officials in the land are putting targets on the backs of the men and women charged with protecting their communities, I will NOT pretend that this is business as usual and a traditional Christmas.

If your definition requires the beast to be in your living room, by all means, count it as error on my part. I do not know if there will be anyone to speak for me when they come, but until they do I am going to keep speaking for those under siege rather than pretending that because I still have a warm bed, nothing serious is amiss.

When I studied the events leading up to World War II there came a time when I realized that, if the world had heeded Winston Churchill in the mid-30s, there would have been war and probably 200,000 would have died. Each year that they ridiculed him as an alarmist and warmonger, the price went up. In the end, good estimates have 86 million people dying in World War II. It was certainly the aggressors who caused those deaths, but they were enabled by millions and millions of people who insisted that, as long as the butchers were not at their door, nothing serious was wrong. In doing so, they enabled the butchers. What a horror.

I have been heartened this year by how many readers at this site have abandoned their fears, have set aside paralyzing doubt, and just started actively being a sign of hope to those around them. That IS the path to reclaiming and rebuilding our culture, simple as it sounds. I know, though, that at least a hint of my disquiet and anger comes through today, for many are still acting as if they are the audience at a particularly gripping drama, giving thumbs up or thumbs down at what pleases and displeases them. You are not the audience; you are the players. How it turns out is dependent on you. Given all that has happened in the last year, if you still believe our culture had a normal, traditional Christmas season because you were not deprived of your fireplace, tree or eggnog, then you will likely remain in denial until the barbarians really are at your door – and by that time you won’t be able to be a sign of hope to anyone.

You don’t need to believe anything about my visitations to see the signs of the times. Dismiss it all…but please, acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. If you will just do this, whatever happens, you will help rescue the world.

I have refrained from writing of late largely because I am trying to figure out how to convey the urgency that is already upon us. I’m stupid in many ways. It frankly surprised me that anyone would argue that this Christmas was culturally traditional in any sense. I am working to try to convey better what these things mean…but for heaven’s sake, if you have to have a smoldering meteor in your living room to think anything is really wrong at all, I don’t know how to get the message across. It truly is the last hour. And if somebody notes, an hour after this is posted, that we are all still here, I am going to scream.

May we all get up on our hind legs and behave like men and women of the Most High God, men and women who were chosen to be the signs of hope that would reclaim His people in these times. Remember that God chose you to live in these historic times. Stand your post and justify His confidence in you.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Conversion, Culture, Discernment, Prophecy, Spiritual Preparation, The Storm and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

292 Responses to Christmas in the Trenches

  1. mvislander says:

    Dear Charlie, after reading your post and all the wonderful comments I can only say bravo. I fervently wish that this was the 1840’s and we could circle our wagons or head to an Alamo type fortress and fight together. But, alas, we are alone and must endure the slings and arrows of our detractors as we shout our warnings. I so often feel so alone and sometimes desperate to find any soul that thinks like me. Here you all are! Jim M., Fred, Becky and Brother Gilbert and especially you Charlie I feel are the souls that think like me.
    Like Bro. Gilbert 1991 was a very defining time for me. I was newly married and was deeply questioning whether to bring children into this world. Now every night, sometime after midnight, when I get home from my tour and drop my gun belt and take off my uniform I thank God for my beautiful wife and children. Their presence has been the greatest gift from God that any man can receive.
    I also felt a deep sense of mourning this Christmas over the growing apostasy that has enveloped our world. I am a weirdo at work because I do not worship professional sports and do not constantly work extra shifts to bow at the altar of mammon. May God continue to bless you Charlie( my WWII combat hero father’s name). And oh contraire my friend your communication skills are beyond compare.
    Much love and respect, Jim C.
    p.s. He let you know you are not perfect when you committed a typo when you were correcting Charlanne. hehe

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ha! Love your p.s….I hadn’t even noticed it until you mentioned it…but that is ENTIRELY consonant with God’s sly sense of humor…”Oh, think you know what you are doing, My servant?”

      I guess 1991 was a banner year for many of us, It was at Easter that year that I was received into the Church I had fallen head over heels in love with.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Beth says:

    Charlie your words are like GOOD MEDICINE, as usual, thank you! I would like to hear what others do as far as letting their kids know what to expect during the storm. I want mine to be prepared (at least spiritually), without causing them anxiety, but find that I’m often not sure exactly what to say to them. I mean, otherwise they’d be totally unsuspecting, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carolyn C. says:

    Every day is a good day when you post something! Please keep it up. When I was becoming confused several months ago, with close Friends criticizing pope Francis and others, non-Catholics, acting like nothing unusual is happening in our country, I found your posts and Mark Mallett’s. What a blessing they have been and not just to me. I have been able to forward them on. Also as I work in a Catholic retreat house there is an opportunity every day to be a joyful witness of the gospel. Your encouraging and timely message reminds me to do that!
    Carolyn C.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, Carolyn. I am so glad that together we are raising a small army of people who are resolved to be signs of hope and light as darkness surrounds. The thickest darkness cannot overcome even the palest light!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clarnell (Carrie) says:

    Pope Francis called the Christmas Season “a Christmas of tears” in his Homily when he gave us the Papal Blessing from the balcony in Rome. He spoke of all the suffering in the world going to each place in the world and then said “a Christmas of tears”. Seen it on EWTN . I have a home ,family food etc. Dear Lord, what can an 80 year do???—-make Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament for the word and the souls of mankind.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Vickie J says:

    Hi, Have been enjoying your columns. Interesting that you mentioned in this one re Amnesty International saying Christians are the most persecuted, considering they have a petition going around re the anti-abortion laws in El Salvador. They claim (as do other websites) even women who miscarry are imprisoned. Don’t know if that’s true or an exaggeration but instead of totally opening the doors to abortion as they want, an investigation to discover the truth would be better. I no longer support AI because of this effort of theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Yeah, Vickie, I have not been a fan of Amnesty International since they became so overtly political some years back. But they have the typical leftist hostility to Christianity (though not as virulent as many progressive groups) – so when even they say that Christians are under siege, it is striking. Kind of like a cat saying, “Hey, we need to ease up on these mice.”

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Tom says:

    Charlie, I was struck and moved to take the next right step 🙂 by your urging us to reach out to our local police and this morning wrote the local sheriff, county and city police chiefs and received almost immediate and very thankful replies. I encourage all to reach out to the men and women in local law enforcement who serve us and let them know we are thankful for their work and that we have their backs in deed and in prayer. Here’s a few of the responses I got back, they really need to hear from us that we support them:

    “Thank you very much for the words of support! It is very encouraging to our officers to know that our citizens are supportive of their efforts to keep ******** County a preferred place to live and work. I will forward your email to our entire department.

    Please do not hesitate to let me know if we can be of service to you. On behalf of the entire ******** County Police Department, thank you for taking the time to show your support.”

    “Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement with our Chief. It means a lot to hear we have some support from those in our community!”

    “Thank you so much for your kind words of support. I will pass this along to the men and women of the NPD. I’m sure they will appreciate it as well. We try very diligently to provide superior law enforcement to everyone in ********. Unfortunately, a few highly publicized national incidents have cast a pall over the entire profession. We have to counter-balance the negative with an abundance of positive. I appreciate you taking the time to let us know how you feel and for your support.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      God bless you, Tom. It is a noble act of solidarity to show simple support to those around us when they are being kicked around unfairly.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      The tragedy caused by Eric Frein in this state garnered much support for local and state law enforcement. The support was wonderful to see, though the sorrow and fear was also tough to take. So many families right in the middle of that storm (and especially those with children) had their lives turned upside down for many weeks. The police officers and their families need our prayers. And I guess Eric Frein needs some prayers, too, because he has truly darkened his soul with this heinous act.


  7. BJ says:

    …… gunslinger Charlie…shooting from the hip, 2 barrels….. great stuff, you tell ’em Chuck

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gabriela says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I just want to say thank you. Keep doing what you are doing and do not get discouraged. I’ve been following world events for a number of years now and switching between feelings of panic and calm… and everything in between. Your blog though has had a calming effect on me despite the serious nature of what you talk about. I am incredibly impressed with your work. You are very honest in your writing and your sincerity shines through. It has been a very long time since I have come across anybody that is defending the Church. It is almost unheard of now but like a breath of fresh air.

    As for your worry about the majority not recognising what is going on, your are correct. To most people the Christmas of 2013 vs. 2014, 2012, 2011, etc. are all interchangeable. Most people ate too much and shopped too much. Everybody heard on TV that somebody somewhere got trampled at Wal-Mart on boxing day and there was a panel somewhere discussing the controversial & not inclusive Christmas tree. Same as in all other recent Christmases. People in the west live a very sheltered and isolated existence; they see life at a micro level, just the trees around them. The multiple fires in the various areas of the forest don’t bother them because they don’t effect the trees near them. What they don’t understand is that fires spread, sometimes extremely quickly. God on the other hand looks at both the micro and the macro; the entire forest and each tree.

    From what I have been reading on this blog, you have been preaching to the choir here 🙂 Most people here get it and it seems the numbers of new people coming on board are growing daily. I think what most people may be having a bit of an issue with is the specific line in the sand of Christmas 2013… why not a few months sooner or later? I don’t think that anybody would argue that the pace of evil in this world has quicken and 2014 especially highlight that. It is incredible how quickly ISIS has catapulted to front page news and how quickly they have spread their evil. On a side note, I find it interesting that the acronym is the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess.

    Please keep sharing with us and guiding us. Like somebody else on here has said, share as much as you can with us. Hopefully, we can handle it 🙂 The truth will come out sooner or later anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Judy says:

    I have not considered anything ‘normal’ in this country for a while now. I see traditional Judeo-Christian values being eroded and am greatly saddened to see it happening. I do everything I can to keep the focus on God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as Our Blessed Mother, the archangels, etc. Well, that is easy for me because I think about God and pray several times a day quite often….as often as my energy level and illnesses allow. For example, today I had repairmen at my house and we began talking. I could see that we saw eye to eye on many things. And they had troubles, just as I and my family and friends have troubles. I discovered they were Catholic. So, I asked them, “Would you like a prayer card that I obtained from mystic who gave a conference at the Chapter of Rosa Mystica?” The mystic (Sondra Abrahms) said that people who accepted the card with faith and prayer would receive many blessings. It has a prayer to Mary on the back, and a beautiful picture of her (as Our Lady of Fatima) on the front. They were very happy to accept it and one said that his mother was a member of prayer groups. As one of Christ’s little ones, I try to plant little seeds everywhere. ….As far as having a normal Christmas…yes, I attended a lovely mass, had lights, beautiful music, family, warmth and food. But I know that Christians are being murdered (in a horrific manner) in so very many places, and I also know that many Americans are in very, very difficult conditions, like my friend, Linda. I think we are all expectant of not so nice events that will unfold….perhaps things we cannot even imagine. in fact, I am already seeing it. So, Charlie, none of us (flawed) human beings expects you to be perfect. Just state what you believe to be true, as you are shown it. I know that much requires interpretation. I certainly am very glad that I have not been given this difficult task. I ask that God will reward you and yours greatly for your efforts. God the Father may scold you from time to time but we know you are doing your best. So, if you have been scolded, just pick yourself up and begin again…just like the rest of us! I send you a hug and prayers. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Mary Ann says:

    I like that Charlie says not just to trust and hope, but to do in love. I cannot tell you how many people I know who are daily communicants and weekly adorers who are just fine with abortion, homosexual agenda, etc. If our faith is just to make us feel good and warm together, it is worthless.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mark Prieur says:

    After reading your post I went to Fox News website and read about the terrorist attack on the paper in Paris and the firing of the Fire Chief in Atlanta for writing in his Baptist Ministry paper that sodomy and other sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin. You are right it is slowly creeping up on everyone. we must stand against this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Diane Grose says:

    Thank God my daughter forwarded this to me! I have missed your posts! Please keep posting all of your insights as I find they strengthen me & give me courage! I am going to diligently try to do an hour/week of adoration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of our Sweet Mother Mary for conversion/peace of the world & get more involved in my Parish!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. belovedrock says:

    As my old confessor would say, Charlie, “Keep fighting the good fight.” Your encouragement for us has been more profound then you can imagine. I am sincerely grateful for your message & am doing my best to defend my young family & be that sign of hope to everyone I meet. BTW, the next time you have an encounter with St. Gabriel, tell him I said thank you for being our son’s patron & namesake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. nlnrn2962 says:

    I believe Charlie’s timeframe about the Storm being upon us is seemingly accurate. What seems to me to be so different about this past year or two is how the horrible “anything goes” mentality has advanced to not just being mainstream but now a part of our country’s governance in many ways. Maybe the rainbow agenda has something to do with this in making that sin “acceptable” leading to a “why not” attitude of sin in general. I’ve read an account of a boy chased by demons saying that their only two goals were to turn people away from God and to stop them from maturing. I don’t know so much about the world at large, but that certainly seems like what is happening in the United States….a godless and an increasingly more immature society….Kyrie eleison!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I may be wrong and Charlie right but I don’t think all will be over by 2017 followed by a Rescue and peace. I believe that it is possible that the storm may reach its climax in 2017 followed by some kind of events we could call a rescue (the warning and miracle) and maybe this is where Charlies mission is complete. However I think the storm may end but after a brief lull the Hurricane will begin and blow until at least 2021-22 followed by the era of peace. I think this second period after 2017 the antichrist spoken about by Mark Mallet may come into public view. However with the timing both of us may be totally wrong as we always have to be aware that prayer, repentance, sacrifice and fasting can change or modify any time-table as happened with Jonah and Ninevah.


  15. Dear Charlie, Here is something I wrote about 2017 back in 2012. I thought you might find it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. CrewDog says:

    Below is an article on a TN Pastor and his battle in The War on Christmas.
    I fight this culture war in a couple of small ways:
    When someone wishes me Happy Holidays I answer, a bit too loudly, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
    I buy enough Madonna Christmas stamps to last all year .. in fact it’s time to go to the Post Office 😉

    “Pastor Believes the ‘Two Holiest Days in Human History Have Been Desecrated.’ Here’s His Plan to Reclaim Christmas.”


    Liked by 4 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Crewdog, ha! I just used my last Madonna stamp from last year on the Thanksgiving Day cards that I mailed last week. 😉 It is time to stock up for the year ahead.
      Praise God, that the USPS has not eliminated them, yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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