When I look at Christmas, I have a deep fascination with the 1914 Christmas Truce. This should come as no surprise. It’s emotionally complex and a mixture of British and German culture, and history.
It’s a famous Christmas story. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 1914; German, French, and British soldiers agreed to not shoot at each other and actually celebrate Christmas together. While it may seem spontaneous, it was not. First of all, soldiers were told the war would be over by Christmas. Second, patrols from opposing often agreed to not shoot at each other and move on.
The other factor was the rain. It rained throughout the months of December, flooding the British trenches. This lead to a stand still in the fighting. The rain actually stopped on Christmas Eve. This led to German troops holding up signs that said, “You no shoot. We no shoot.”
One of the biggest surprises for the British was when the Germans put Christmas trees on the parapets and sung silent night in German. This went against the British notion that the Germans were barbarians.
With the Christmas carols and rain stopping, who would want to shoot at someone? Instead, the French, British, and Germans celebrated Christmas together. They even played a game of soccer.
Sadly, they did have to go back to shooting each other. Military authorities were not happy with the truce. A few people held out for a few, but the war continued for everyone. Even so, this story continues to warm our hearts.
This story is a miracle. I believe that God stopped the rain to speak to us. He used the event to show us why Jesus came. Jesus was a light in the darkness. People from opposing sides suddenly come together to celebrate Jesus. This is how you love your enemies. You see what Jesus did to save all man kind from the burden of death.
This means that everyone in a war is a good guy. I’m not saying we should never go to war. The purpose of this blog is not to make statements about political policy. But we have to remember that both sides are acting under of death.
WWI was clearly European aristocracy continuing the fights they always had. It started when Austria-Hungary falsley accused Serbia of an assassination. Most countries joined bacause their allies joined. The European aristocracy was acting under the burden of death.
Perhaps it is okay to enter war because a country needs to protect itself from a threat. It would be like fighting Hitler in WWII. Hitler was acting under the burden of death. I remember people complaining that war is just run by corporations that want to profit. If that’s the case, then the corporations are under the burden of death.
All man kind was under the burden of death when Jesus came. We long for peace in the midst of trouble. We want to see opposing sides become friends.
That’s why we love the story of the Christmas Truce. It’s what our hearts long for in world of darkness. And that is what Christmas is about. Amidst the darkness of the world, a baby was born. God became a man. He became one of us. He showed us good will.
It’s not just a few soldiers from opposing sides celebrating Christmas together. It is the answer to death.