The World War 1 Christmas Truce


   It was 1914. A deadly war, which later became known as World War I, was raging. For 600 miles, from the English Channel to Switzerland was a zig-zagging line of trenches. In these filthy, putrid, muddy trenches, soldiers not only faced enemy gunfire, but disease, lice, rats, fleas, and homesickness. 

   Sometimes they were ordered over the top and it was kill and be killed in “no-man’s-land.” Other times they languished in the foul trenches for weeks or even months. 

   But during this bleak time, Christmas came. On Christmas Eve of 1914, a group of German soldiers put up little Christmas trees and began singing carols. Allied soldiers in the opposite trench heard it, and once the Germans had finished, began singing “The First Noel.” The Germans clapped and began another.
  An Allied soldier said, 

   “And so it went on. First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘Adeste Fideles.’ And I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing--two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

   And that was how it began--a most extraordinary Christmas celebration, a truce held in the midst of a war for no other reason than to celebrate Christmas.      When Christmas morning dawned, instead of the staccato of machine gun fire and the rumbling of artillery, there was quiet. Signs were posted, reading “Merry Christmas” and “YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT.” Instead of soldiers crossing no-man’s-land to fight each other, they tossed gifts across. And then the men themselves emerged to shake hands with their enemies, exchange gifts, and show each other pictures of their loved ones. Some started a game of soccer. A group of Irish soldiers even posed for a picture with their German enemies.     In some places the truce lasted for days. In others it lasted only hours.    Sooner or later, though, everyone returned to their trenches, and the war started back up.    But it had been a brief glimpse of peace.     There were those who had refused to participate (Including a young corporal named Adolf Hitler. But that’s another story.) Yet for those who did participate it was a momentary pause taken in this dark and broken world to celebrate how the Son of God came to save us from our sins and give us peace with God. And one day, wars and suffering will end for good. 

   “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4


  Until then, let’s rejoice in the hope of Christ! Merry Christmas!

All for Him,
Savannah Jane


The Mystery of History Volume IV by Linda Lacour Hobar

The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader by Donna W. Payne and Fran Lenzo


Popular Posts