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What if there were no hatred? No ill will? No jealousy? What if there were just reverence? Calmness?
What if on one night a year everyone paused to reflect on the good?
It’s happened before. Been documented in history, retold in books and recorded in songs.
On Dec. 24, 1914, German troops began decorating the area around their trenches of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas.
They put candles on trees and sang Christmas carols. One of those was Stille Nacht (Silent Night.) British troops in trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.
According to Wikipedia, the two sides shouted Christmas greetings to each other.
Troops crossed “No Man’s Land” where they exchanged gifts like whiskey, jam, cigars and chocolate.
The artillery firing ceased that night. Both sides were able to retrieve their dead and give them proper burial.
Such truces were reported elsewhere on the battle fields. There were stories of football matches between the opposing forces.
Those and other accounts of Christmas truces have been retold through songs by entertainers like British folk singer Mike Harding, American fold singer John McCutcheon and country music singer Garth Brooks.
Richard Attenborough captured the Christmas Truce in his 1969 film “Oh What a Lovely War.”
William Wharton also gave the Christmas Truce account in his autobiography “A Midnight Clear.”
An unknown British soldier shared his experience in a letter to a family member.
“There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as today we are all on top of our trenches running about,” he wrote.
“After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches. We’ve had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party over to bury a sniper we shot in the week. He was about 100 yards from our trench. A few of our fellows went out and helped to bury him.”
The soldier went on to say that he exchanged one of his balaclavas for a hat with a German soldier.
“They say they won’t fire tomorrow if we don’t so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday – perhaps.
“It all seemed so strange. I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day and I don’t suppose you thought of us doing so.”
It had to seem strange.
But what if there were a worldwide truce on one special night a year when everyone put down their weapons – external and internal?
Think about the impact.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright...