A soldier writes home about huge shell holes amidst the trenches he and his buddies depend on for survival. His pillow is a military-issue back pack. His Christmas dinner is cold and dry.
Yet this soldier writes home, "This will be the most memorable Christmas I’ve ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don’t think theres been a shot fired on either side up to now…the Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and are coming over to us – wishing us a Happy Christmas…"
The place? Europe. Wartime. Christmas 1914.
It could have been the worst Christmas these young soldiers ever endured.
The pope failed to secure a Christmas truce.
Political leaders and top military advisors were hell-bent on fighting through the holy week.
Even so, as Christmas settled onto the battlefield, the gunfire ceased and silence gave way to good will.
German and British soldiers sang carols together and exchanged gifts. Young men wrote home that "it all seems so strange" that they’d all been fighting just hours before.
Perhaps you’ll be in a place you’d rather not be for Christmas. Perhaps you’d rather be somewhere else, anywhere else.
One lesson learned from googling "Christmas 1914" – we can find the spirit of Christmas where we are. We simply need to stop wishing we were somewhere else, and start looking for hope where we are.
By the way, the letter I quoted? Singer Chris de Burgh is reported to have paid 14,400 pounds for that original 10 page letter from an unknown British soldier.
Read all about the Christmas Truce letter on Wikipedia.
And may God grant you a Merry Christmas filled with peace, joy, and contentment.