The Christmas Truce

22 Dec

It’s the first Christmas of World War I. The year is 1914 – 100 years ago.

Here is how British soldier Frank Richards described it:

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News.On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with “Merry Christmas” on it. The enemy has stuck up a similar one … Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads.

Two of the Germans done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench …

Why did these men risk their lives and meet each other in ‘no man’s land?’ Trench warfare, meant that soldiers faced each other for long periods of time. They even communicated by shouting across enemy lines.  They established a connection … a familiarity of sorts. They also shared religious beliefs.

And most of all, Christmas is a very special time of year … filled with longing to be with family and surrounded by the warmth, familiarity and security of home.

So, these troops threw caution to the wind and followed their hearts and reached out to their fellow-man .. not the soldier across the way.

We all have someone who represents our “soldier in the opposite trench.” Why not reach out – even if just for a day – hold up that sign and make a momentary peaceful connection. Who knows, maybe that gesture can turn every day into Christmas.


P.S. Thanks to my mom for sharing this story.

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