The Christmas Truce of 1914

6 12 2015

Here’s a story I heard years ago and again just recently.Rock _n

It was December 1914 and WW1 had been raging for several months in Europe. With Christmas approaching the leaders on both sides were trying to work out a ceasefire for the holiday but sadly to no avail; the fighting would continue on. But some soldiers had a different idea and decided to take matters into their own hands.

On Christmas morning German troops on one of the fronts set up several Christmas trees, fully adorned with makeshift decorations and candles for lights in front of their trenches so the allied forces just yards away and dug into the mud also could see them. Then as if it was orchestrated the weather changed and a cold front moved in coating everything in a majestic white snow. With no shooting going on, the allied forces could hear something; singing. The Germans were singing Christmas carols and as more joined in up and down the line the melodies of the season echoed all over that battle field and soon the other side was singing back at them setting a scene where it would be hard to believe that just a few hours earlier guns were firing, bombs exploding and blood was being shed.

Then it really began. One German shoulder stood up, climbed out of his fox hole and stood in front of his enemy smiling and waving to them. Then there was another, and another. Soon many had come forth, and the allied forces began to do the same. There were no sounds of what would be associated to the Great War. They were now replaced with greetings, laughter, story telling, souvenir exchanges and more singing. Then there was time for each side to bury their dead without the chaos of the war raging around them. When the end of this jubilee between enemies came, both sides returned to their trenches knowing tomorrow this moment would be all but forgotten and once again the realities of war would reign. As one solder put it years later, “That was a greatest Christmas celebration I had ever experienced only to be followed by heartbreak the next day. For now I was no longer fighting an enemy across from me, I was now shooting at possibly a friend.”

I was just a youngster the first time I heard this story, and it made such an impact on me that I decided to go and make peace with an older boy who always picked on me. And I got my clock cleaned! I couldn’t figure out what went wrong; didn’t he realize it was Christmas, a time to make peace? Well obviously not since he hadn’t been told the story that I just related. And perhaps if he had, he just might have had a “heart change” like I did, like the soldiers did even if it was just for a short magical and wonderful moment.  And that’s really where it all starts, isn’t it?

As we draw closer to Christmas, let us not forget the real meaning of the season.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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 men.”

And my man C.S. Lewis would sum up that night and every Christmas hence with, “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.  The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”

And Finally “To be a Christian (The true meaning of Christmas) means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

As we “Travel the Rock Road” this Christmas, remember the solder that bravely stood up, faced his enemy with love and for a short moment brought a war to a standstill.

Perhaps in your case it would be a permanent peace leading to something better. We never know unless we try.

A Merry and Blessed Christmas Friends and Family,

See ya next time.


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3 responses

7 12 2015
Beverly Crane

Thank you for sharing this very special message John. We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
Rich and Beverly Crane

7 12 2015
jshowington@yahoo.com

I heard the same story!  Amazing testimony to traditions that cross the nations and cultures.

8 12 2015
rockroad

Thank you for your kind comments. Merry Christmas to you as well.

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