The Christmas Truce

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”

Well before the United States entered into World War I the Christmas Truce took place as French, German, and British soldiers crossed the trench lines to exchange food and souvenirs and to sing Christmas carols.

This truce was unofficial and did not happen everywhere there were hostilities.  In some cases, the fighting continued. But some 100,000 troops were involved in the truce along the Western Front. When the Germans placed candles on their trenches and began singing carols, the British responded with carols of their own.

British writer Henry Williamson, a nineteen-year-old private at the time, wrote to his mother:

Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o’clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a ‘dug-out’ (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench, but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary. In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands. Yes, all day Xmas day, & as I write. Marvellous, isn’t it?

Books and movies tell the story of the Christmas Truce. But this “Peace on Earth” didn’t last.

Soon the fighting resumed and although there were additional instances of cessations in the fighting the war would rage on for another four years. Before the end, some 40 million military and civilian lives would be lost.

While not of the same magnitude by any stretch, we’re calling for a cessation of posting here for the next few weeks.

We’ll be back in January with new information and updates about the script and perhaps a new direction for this blog.

Best wishes for the Christmas season.

Let us all continue to pray for peace.

Photo credit: By A. C. Michael – The Guardian [2] / [3]Originally published in The Illustrated London News, January 9, 1915., PD-US, [Wikipedia]

Advertisements

Five Golden Rings

fivegoldrings

 

Today is the Fifth Day of Christmas.

No, you don’t have to put your tree back up, but just be aware that the season isn’t over.

Most traditional Christmas celebrations go through January 6, known as the Epiphany or Feast of Lights. Adherance to different calendars between Catholic Rome and Protestant Great Britain meant that for a while Christmas day ws celebrated on January 6 and was thus known as “Old Christmas.” It is traditionally believed to be the day that the Magi visited the Christ child.

In reality, the visit was probably some two years after the birth of the child. But traditions being what they are, the three kings wound up at the stable.

In most Western Churches Christmas Day is actually considered the First Day of Christmas and in many churches these twelve days are also known as Christmastide. The twelve days have actually been celebrated since before the Middle Ages.

Most Americans are familiar with the song the Twelve Days of Christmas, but many confuse the days as being the days leading up to December 25. In the 1990s a story began circulating the Internet that said the song was written as a way to teach the Catechism to Catholic Children in the days when they were being persecuted by the Protestants, but there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. Still, it’s a nice story.

Today is the fifth day of Christmas, the day of Five Golden Rings.

See also:

Snopes.com: No, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was not created as a coded reference to important articles of the Christian faith.

According to PNC Wealth Management the cost of purchasing the twelve days’ worth of gifts in 2015 would be $34,131.

Do you still send Christmas cards?

vintagecard

With email and Facebook and texting the sending of letters by U.S. Mail has certainly decreased, and along with that the sending of Christmas cards.

The custom of sending cards at Christmas dates back to 1843 England when Sir Henry Cole, an Assistant Keeper at the Public Record Office (now the Post Office) had an idea along with his artist friend, John Horsley, to design and sell the first Christmas card for about a shilling (about 8 cents in today’s economy). By the early 1900s the custom of Christmas cards had spread across Europe and was especially popular in Germany.

The U.S. saw the beginning of Christmas cards in the 1840s, but they were too expensive for most people to afford. Louis Prang, a printer originally from Germany, started the first mass production of Christmas cards in 1875. In 1915 John C. Hall and two brothers launched Hallmark Cards.

Christmas cards are still fund to send, and in this electronic age they’re fund to receive.

Did you send cards this year?

Five Blogs about the Nativity that We Love

Image: The Nativity, Western Dioces of the Armenian Church, Burbank, California

Image: The Nativity, Western Dioces of the Armenian Church, Burbank, California

Christmas is Friday and Christians all over the world welcome the
coming of the Christ child. Homes and churches display the
traditional nativity scene with the child in the manger surrounded by
angels, shepherds, kings and animals. It’s a romanticized version of
the actual history, but it tells the story.

Here are five blog posts that talk about the Nativity and what it
means to Christianity.

Stone Gable Blog asks and answers the question “What is the
Nativity?

At Salt and Light, Vivian Cabrera sits down with producer and
correspondent Sebastian Gomes to talk about the Birth of the Messiah.

Pastor Bill Randles looks at the gospel of Luke and the descripion of
the Nativity: On Singing Christmas…Luke’s Nativity pt 10.

At Ibelieve.com Noelle Kirchner offers 8 Nativity Activities to Teach
Little Ones about Christmas.

Youth Ministry 360 offers 10 Christmas Story Takeaways Your Students
Need To Know.

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent

advent4

God became man.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

Micah 5:2-4

The fourth Sunday of Advent prepares for the birth of Christ.

Advent traditions differ as sometimes do the meanings of the candles. Traditionally the fourth candle means love and represents the love of Christ who came to the earth sinless to take on himself the sins of the world.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 13:15

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Cristina Rosetti

You have ONE week

oneweek

Christmas is one week from today. Are you ready?

We’ve given you gift suggestions for him and for her. We’ve told you how to
select your tree. We’ve been talking Christmas for days.

At some point you’re going to have to step up your game.

Or maybe you’re one of those over achievers who shops and wraps everything
before Labor Day, your tree is up well before Thanksgiving, your Christmas
dinner is planned, and all you’re waiting for is for guests to arrive.

All you have to do is pour another glass of eggnog and tune into your Favorite
Christmas Specials.

Much applause to you if you are. You are very likely in the minority.

For the rest of the world, brace yourself. You’re going to have to go shopping
tomorrow on the Saturday before Christmas. You can do it.

It’s Christmas.  Just believe!