It was December 7th, 1914. Pope Benedict XV wanted the war to temporarily stop for the soldiers to celebrate Christmas. Though the leaders said no, the word got to the soldiers from two nations so they declared their own unofficial Christmas Truce. German and British Soldiers greeted one another and actually got out of the trenches shook hands sang together and exchanged gifts of what they had with them.
There are no known photos but this is how it could have looked.
Why did this happen? Was it the fact that Jesus was in the hearts of all the warriors? My guess is yes. Was it because the soldiers desired a celebration, though short lived, and wanted to share it even with the enemy because Jesus said to love thine enemy? Yes. Did they understand the true meaning for the season? My guess once again is yes. For a brief moment, hardened hearts became soft, God’s love and compassion filled the air.
We are reminded of the Word according to Luke 2:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Christmas 2001, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Camp Butmir, a multinational force met for a Christmas celebration. We did not segregate ourselves by country, ethnicity, creed, or gender. We sang Christmas Carols in 6 different languages then the American Army Chaplain gave the message and the Christmas Story seen above. We then shared in Communion with one another in a circle drinking from the same cup and breaking bread together. This was a Christmas to remember. I will never forget that day because I was there. Though we have all lost contact, we remember that one moment where Christ brought us together in complete peace and harmony.
Today we celebrate the earthly birth of our eternal Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We celebrate on this day because of it being the day that Emperor Constantine decided to be the right time of the calendar year to commemorate His birth.. This day is the central point of the season which officially ends on Epiphany. But, the Spirit of sharing, giving, and loving one another, is an everyday lifelong thing not just around the Christmas season.
What to say on Christmas but to be joyful, caring, and concerned about your fellow man.