Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Christmas Truce of 1914

No matter what your faith, this time of year tends to bring out the best in all of us. People are more polite (save of course those vying for the same parking spot at Southdale) and considerate and tend to slow their pace a bit. It is a time to think about the year past and plan for the year to come.

People come together. The music brings back memories from our childhood. And, thank God this year for the white Christmas.

I was intrigued today in Church when our pastor made mention of an amazing but not often told Christmas story from World War I. In December of 1914, opposing troops, battle weary, cold, and in some cases injured or dying, reached across the void to each other on Christmas Eve.

German soldiers began decorating their trenches and nearby trees with candles. As lore has it, peace broke out across the land when a lone German ventured into no man's land singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night). Soon both sides were singing Christmas Carols to each other. The festivities in some cases lasted until New Year's Day.

The break in the action allowed injured soldiers to receive care while fallen soldiers were carried away for proper burial. As word travelled among the ranks, rations of food, spirits and cigarettes were shared across enemy lines and it was even reported that football matches were played.

Books, songs and movies have been produced about this extraordinary event. The Christmas Truce of 1914 shows how the spirit of the season can overcome us even in the most dire circumstances. Differences can be set aside to be replaced with camaraderie and love.

Here is to peace. And to peace of mind, love and health to you and yours...and especially to those serving our country with pride and honor, who can not be home with their loved ones. God Bless them...and you.

Romans 12:20-21:

"...if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Video HT Leo Pusateri


Night Writer said...

I watched a movie version of this event a few weeks ago, via NetFlix. It is called "Joyeux Noel" (Merry Christmas), and it was well done; good production values and performances and not as sappy as I feared it might be. (There's one brief scene not appropriate for family viewing, but it's easily skipped on a DVD). Let us not forget, as we shake our heads at the Sunnis and Shiites, that WWI and WWII were primarily fought between "Christian" nations - England, France, Germany and the U.S.

Kermit said...

Excellent film.