‘Twas the morning of Christmas and all through the land, not a soldier was stirring with the jerries at hand…
The spirit of Christmas rang louder and more clear than any rifle shot during December of 1914 when countries fighting hard against one another put aside their differences to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Though they were enemies, told to hate one another and ordered to kill one another they were able to look past the uniforms to see the similar heart that beats within every human. A heart that longs for peace, and what better time to recognize that than at Christmas.
These men were tired, cold, hungry, and home sick. They only small comfort they could bring themselves was to sing carols. Strangely enough, their hated enemies had the same idea. In the clear early darkness of 25 December, the trenches were filled with singing and even a few brass instruments. No matter the language, the Brits and French could still understand when the Germans sang Stille Nacht. As the light of dawn glowed across the horizon that frosty Christmas morning, the soldiers emerged from their trenches and greeted one another in no man’s land. Shaking hands, they exchanged cigarettes, plum puddings from their wives back home, and even got a soccer game going.
The great Christmas truce was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies. It was never repeated. All future attempts were squashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action. But the heartening proof is still there, that despite the blood sacrifices and horrendous weapons, humanity was something worth fighting for.
In case you’re wondering, the soccer game ended 3-2. Fritz.