On Christmas 1914 troops from both sides laid down their weapons and met in No Man’s Land. For one day they were no longer enemies but friends – giving gifts, exchanging stories and even playing football amongst the destruction.
This is one soldier’s account:(www.historyhole.com)
“We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Xmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans – Fritz and I in the centre talking, and Fritz occasionally translating to his friends what I was saying. We stood inside the circle like street corner orators.
Soon most of our company (‘A’ Company), hearing that I and some others had gone out, followed us . . . What a sight – little groups of Germans and British extending almost the length of our front! Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman’s cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs. Where they couldn’t talk the language they were making themselves understood by signs, and everyone seemed to be getting on nicely. Here we were laughing and chatting to men whom only a few hours before we were trying to kill!”
That’s true Christmas Magic to me.
If Christmas was enough for them to come together and see that their enemies were just as they were why can we not do the same? Why can we not lay our weapons down, even the lesser weapons of envy and greed? Why does it take so much suffering before we remember we are are all sharing this planet and we all experience joy and pain? What will it take for us to put our differences aside and work for the good of others, of society, the planet?
Spare a thought for the soldiers that died after that truce of 1914 ended, knowing in their hearts that this fighting was not noble, thinking of the friends they laughed with, looked into their eyes and saw the love, the humanity. Spare a thought for all the soldiers and veterans that have had to see the dreadful consequences when man does not come together. Spare a thought for anyone who has suffered at the hands of divided human race: the kid at your school who was bullied, the homeless and impoverished, those whose mental health has been eroded by our dysfunctional society… those who are told they shouldn’t love who they love or go after their dreams or be who they are.
Yes, every one of us has suffered. So we have a choice: We can say that our suffering means others should also suffer. Or we can choose to come together and end the chain. This Christmas give the greatest gift you can give: be a beacon of love.