Merry Christmas! Peace On Earth, Goodwill To All Mankind

An artist's impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: "British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches" (Source: Wikipedia)

An artist’s impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches” (Source: Wikipedia)

I heard this song over Spotify and fell in love with it.

The song, They Sang Silent Night, by Fiona Bevan lyrically tells the true story of an incident that occurred more than 100 years ago. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 during World War One, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front.

It was known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.

While specifics are fuzzy, what is generally believed is that about two-thirds of troops – about 100,000 people – participated in the truce. Most accounts seem to indicate that the truce began as carols were sung from the trenches on Christmas eve. The next day, on Christmas morning in some locations, German soldiers emerged calling out “Merry Christmas” in English to Allied soldiers who came out and greeted them warily. Over the course of the day, soldiers exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. Some accounts also mention a British soldier having his hair cut by a German soldier who had been a barber before the war, while others mention impromptu soccer games with makeshift balls! Both sides also took the opportunity to bury their fallen.

As 2016 draws to a close, I can’t help but think about the timeliness of this event from over 100 years ago. The Christmas Truce of 1914 is a powerful and hopeful story of how humanity can rise to the occasion even during our darkest moments . We live in a world today endlessly barraged by war and suffering. My hope, to close out the year, is that we will truly make our way towards peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Read more about the Christmas Truce of 1914 here: Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914

Check out this Christmas ad inspired by the events of The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Sainsbury:

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