• Slider Image

Christmas Eve 1914

Christmas Eve 1914

2Corinthians 5:17  So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

The story is told of Christmas Eve 1914 when 100 000 British and German troops were involved in an unofficial truce along the length of the Western Front.

Captain Sir Edward Hulse Bart reported how a sing-song which “ended up with ‘Auld lang syne’ which we all, English, Scots, Irish, Prussians, Wurttenbergers, etc, joined in. It was absolutely astounding, and if I had seen it on a cinematograph film I should have sworn that it was faked ![1]

The annual celebration of the birth of Jesus becomes a moment when the love of God breaks into our grubby, selfish lives. Heaven touched earth, and God’s love was found in a simple cattle trough “reconciling the world to himself”. Christmas becomes a moment to glimpse the love of God in the simple act of soldiers singing together instead of shooting each other.

The sadness of Christmas Eve 1914 is that this was only a temporary respite: the Christmas greetings fell away and soldiers resumed shooting at each other. The war dragged on for another four years before people found a way of stopping the fighting. My prayer is that this Christmas may be more than a temporary respite from our foolish self-interested lives.  Once again Christmas holds out hope for love, kindness – and even for reconciliation. We have the opportunity for a new beginning:  everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Christmas challenges us to show generous kindness in giving gifts, laughing together, and reaching out to one another…. for the next 365 days!

[1]  Regan, Geoffrey. Military Anecdotes (1992)  Guinness Publishing ISBN 0-85112-519-0  p140-142.

Share

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)