Lessons From the Christmas Truce of 1914
We have to love our enemies, even our political ones!
From The Federalist. When the angels appeared to the shepherds outside Bethlehem on that night more than 2,000 years ago, they spoke of the great tidings of the incarnation and sang what has become the universal Christmas prayer of the centuries: “Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.”
Perhaps those same Christmas angels were singing over the Western Front in 1914, when the guns fell silent.
The Christmas truce of 1914 is one of those stories many of us have heard, but it’s well worth revisiting. It’s so unbelievable it’s almost too good to be true; it was a series of widespread, voluntary, and unofficial ceasefires between the Germans and English that occurred in the days surrounding Christmas. …
Brits and Germans Sing Carols Together
In a letter published in The Bedfordshire Times and The Independent on Jan. 1, 1915, a lance corporal wrote of his experience on watch at 1 a.m. on Christmas morning:
I was on look-out duty and one of the Germans wished me Good morning and a Merry Christmas. I was never more surprised in my life when daylight came to see them all sitting on top of the trenches waving their hands and singing to us.
Another soldier’s letter, published in The Carlisle Journal on Jan. 8, 1915, records the British and German celebration of Christmas. The soldiers sang carols together, traded cigarettes and souvenirs, and drank to the king’s health.
“The regiment actually had a football match with the Germans who beat them 3-2,” he wrote. “After all this has been almost a happy though strange Christmas.”
In many sections of the front, the German soldiers set up candles and scrawny Christmas trees in their parapets. They may have been surrounded by freezing mud, but they would celebrate the birth of Christ. …
Seeing Their Humanity
When we pray for divisions to cease, and for the King of Peace to reign on Earth this Christmas, let us intend for something as radically beautiful as the Christmas truce. It’s a miracle that begins with us lowering our guns long enough to see the humanity of the other side.
What do you think of the Christmas truce? Share your prayers for love and peace below.
(Excerpt from The Federalist. Photo Credit: Canva)
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