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The Christmas Truce

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I ceased firing their guns and artillery and began to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes, and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe, and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable. (History Channel)

The Great War continued the next day. No doubt, many soldiers found it hard to pick up a weapon and fire on those with whom they had just celebrated a moment of Christmas. However, word immediately filtered down from the highest echelons of military command. It was an act of treason to consort with the enemy. Any soldier found consorting with the enemy, for any reason, would be punished. The fear of punishment compelled most soldiers to resume fighting.

In the muck and mire of the trenches soldiers prepared themselves to take peace from the earth, and to take away their good will towards other men. In the horrors of war, clothes rotted on the bodies of the soldiers, rats ran freely in the trenches, barbed wire and murderous machine gun fire kept any significant advancement across no-man’s land, the small area of land separating the two entrenched armies. The cold statistics of the War are staggering, and leave the soul numb.

Total number of causalities in World War I                                      37 million

Number of missing POW’s from WWI                                                 7.7 million

Number of wounded soldiers in WWI                                                19.7 million

Number of years of fighting that took place during WWI                4 years

Number of allied countries military causalities in WWI                  5.7 million

Number of allied country civilian casualties from WWI                  3.67 million

Number of allied countries wounded in WWI                                        12.8 million

Number of WWI Military causalities                                                            9,720,450

Number of Civilian casualties in WWI                                                          8,865,650

Total War Cost altogether of WWI                                                                $186.3 billion

Those who have been in a war zone, those who have suffered because of war, want another Christmas truce. The hearts of Christians want the Muslims to lay down their weapons against their brethren, the Jews. There is no need to continue all the hatred and hostility for one another. The heart of Christians long to peacefully co-exist with those of other religious persuasion. With the Lord, we say, “Come now, and let us reason together.”

If history is any indication, the time will come when the present Muslim warriors will lay down their weapons because there are not enough individuals left to fight, or, because the resources for fighting  run out. Sometimes, wiser leaders arise and the pursuit of peace replaces the pursuit of elusive and perishable prized objects. From September 5-17, 1978, the Camp David Summit was held during the administration of the US President, Jimmy Carter. Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin found a way to sign the Camp David Peace Accords.

During this Christmas season, let Christians pray once more for the peace of Jerusalem. Also, let the Church remember the multitude of suffering saints being slaughtered in the Middle East by the Islamic religion that fills the hearts of its most devout followers with hatred to the point they pervert righteousness and commit acts of genocide in the name of their god, Allah. Let Christians pray for the triumphant of righteousness that will bring lasting peace. Jesus said, “Surely, I come quickly.” Let the Church respond today, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Now, may “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

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