Christmas in the Trenches
John McCutcheon tells us this story in a song. Like many of the best ones it is based on a true story.
It was a cold winter night in WWI on the western front in the year 1914. The British and the Germans were in their respective trenches. An open field lay before them. They had been killing each other all day.
The rifles were quiet. A German soldier began to sing. His clear voice pierced the cold night air. Soon he broke into ‘Stille Nacht.’ The British began to sing along in English; ‘Silent Night.’
In a minute a sole German soldier climbed out of his trench. The British trained their rifles on him, but he carried a truce flag. They held their fire.
Soon they all emptied out onto the open field; the no man’s land which had been a killing ground only hours before. They traded cigarettes and chocolates and showed each other pictures of family from back home. Someone started a pick-up ball game and they played cards. After a few hours they went back to their trenches.
In the morning they resumed killing each other.
To me those poor boys were the same on both sides; just kids who wanted to somehow get back home who had been manipulated into a hopeless situation by some old fat a^^ ‘leader’ who either got picked last in ball as a kid or his mama didn’t love him. (or both)
My thoughts and prayers this Christmas are with our service people. I pray they get home safe. God says we should pray for our enemies. I try to listen to what He says, so I pray for the ones on the other side of the conflict too. I suspect the vast majority of them are but pawns in the deal who are just trying to get home themselves. It ain’t the fault of the ones in the trenches, and I pray for peace so they can all just go back home.
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