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The Rector/Reader writes…

The 100th anniversary of the end of World War One…

In the year when we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, I found this and thought it very apt. It is taken from a book called 'We Can Change the World'. As your build up to Christmas begins please take a moment or two to read and reflect upon this story.

It was December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I. German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with “the enemy” along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, “Merry Christmas.”

“You no shoot, we no shoot.” Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.

A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.

The Christmas Truce story goes against most of what we have been taught about people. It gives us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says, "This really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts we keep hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life is. It is like hearing that our deepest wishes really are true: the world really could be different.

The world really can be different and God sent His Son, His only Son to show us the way. I would encourage you to come to church and hear again the story of the Birth of Jesus, and to take some time to reflect upon the meaning of Christmas to you, and what you can do to make your part of the world different and better.

I wish each and everyone of you a very peaceful, happy and joyful Christmas.

Regards Paul

 
 

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