View Full Version : Christmas at War

12-22-2006, 12:33 AM


Bastogne! (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmEzOGU4ZTc5YmZmYWQ0YTZjMjMxMTE5NDlmOTNjMGM=) - The Belgian people remember their American liberators.

Christmas on the Frontlines (http://books.nationalreview.com/review/?q=NTExMWUyOGI1MzYwN2JmMjdkNzgzYzEyMzkxNmZlYjU=) - Stanley Weintraub spends Christmas at the Battle of the Bulge.

The Rites of Innocence (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDFjZjE1MjRlMjdmZjAyN2FkNTRhMjc5M2E4MGQxMTQ=) - Christmas 1861 was an end of the innocence.

Christmas Past (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NzkwNjA2MzY4NGMwNThkOWNjMGNhOGRhYmM4MzYyZGU=) - Ever spent Christmas in Fallujah?

A Lincolnian Christmas (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ODhkNGUxMTk5ZjlkMDcxYzZjYzQ0YTdiMmY4NDBmNWE=) - We've been here before.


A Soldier's Silent Night (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/101uxsws.asp) - A Christmas Carol for our men and women under arms.


Their Christmas At War (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/21/AR2006122101276.html) - What Christmas looks like this year via Military Blogs.


Operation Call Home (http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20061221-083318-4218r.htm) - Phone calling cards for the troops.


Around Midnight
12-26-2006, 03:12 AM
It was Christmas Eve, 1914…, World War I… and it was the 5th month of a war that lasted five years. And the French and British and others were on one side, most called themselves Christian, but there were other religions there as well. The Germans were on the other side, most of them were Christian. And they were beating the hell out of each other. In a short five months there were a million dead… millions of folks were refugees and war was adding up it’s grim arithmetic.

And on that Christmas Eve night 1914…, on one side of the trenches, the report has it that a soldier began singing “Silent Night Holy Night.” Pretty soon another soldier took up the hymn, then some of the soldiers on the opposing side began singing hymns.

At one point, someone raised a cross and a Christmas tree… and then a miracle seemed to happen. On Christmas Eve 1914, in the first year of World War I, soldiers disobeyed their superiors and made peace with "the enemy" along two-thirds of the Western Front.

German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, "Merry Christmas" and "You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.

Without official approval, sometimes against orders, and almost by accident, the soldiers in the trenches made for themselves a Christmas truce… it was like peace had come down to earth. Up and down the line, at different times and in different places, the guns were silent. A allied soldier was quoted as saying:

"We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Christmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans. We stood inside the circle like street-corner orators."

Another soldier reported

"Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman's cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs. Where they couldn't talk the language they were making themselves understood by signs, and everyone seemed to be getting on nicely. Here we were laughing and chatting to men whom only a few hours before we were trying to kill!"

Another soldier said:

“There was not an atom of hate on either side that day.”

This was the Christmas Truce of 1914! In the carnage of Human History, it was an encounter with peace. Where the unforgivable was forgiven… where the irreconcilable was reconciled… a least for a brief moment. It wasn’t too long after Christmas Eve and Christmas day 1914… that a shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight.

National leaders on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial and execution. Two days later, the Christmas Peace had been eradicated and the killing machine was put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered and 22 million wounded.

If only that small glimpse of peace could have lasted a little longer and if only peace would have prevailed a little bit longer. We don’t seem to be smart enough or strong enough to accomplish the mission that God has set before us.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all humankind.

(Cross Posted in part: http://sundayschoolforsinners.blogspot.com/)