News & Events

Pastor’s Note for December 19

Visitation, Mariotto Albertinelli, 1503

Here we are, right in the middle of the “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” season.  I think we might widely agree that this isn’t the case in our world right now.  I’m reminded of a time when our world was a good deal more violent.  It was the beginning of the First World War, Christmas 1914.  Somehow, people on both sides of No-Man’s-Land managed to call a halt to the hostilities; at least for a little while.

One website wrote:

The starting of this Christmas truce was very amazing! It bubbled up from the ranks, with both armies making small gestures of goodwill in the days before Dec. 25. In France, some Germans suggested a brief, local cease-fire, even sweetening the deal with a chocolate cake. Along the Lys River, a battalion of Welsh infantrymen hoisted a banner reading “Merry Christmas, accompanied by a sketch of Kaiser Wilhelm II…What both sides found was that the other side had ordinary men like themselves. Once they had broken the ice with greetings and handshakes, they started talking about their homes, their jobs, their families. Many realized that they bore each other no real enmity, that they were merely pawns in a vast struggle beyond their control.

The camaraderie for a short time spread. On Christmas Day, thousands of unarmed men from both sides again emerged from the trenches, having agreed to use the daylight to collect their dead. This time, the enemy soldiers swapped pieces of equipment and parts of their uniforms. Many shared photographs of their families and took pictures of themselves with their new friends…In some places, combatants even played soccer with makeshift balls.

It was short-lived, but for a while, even in the midst of violence, peace broke out.  That and a thousand other events and people give me hope that one day peace will win out over war, love will eventually conquer hate and that people everywhere will come to understand that they have more in common with one another than they have differences.



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