German and British Troops together in No Man’s Land
The seasonal commercial onslaught notwithstanding, this is a magical time of the year, full of family, warmth, intimacy, compassion, togetherness, efforts to find one another, and abundant good will.
It has always been so, or so it seems, as the light of the sun is reborn, the rays shining longer day by day, a time when we renew ourselves from each other, resolving that for the next year, in the New Year, we will do things differently, reform ourselves but also perfect how we can deal better with each other.
While many of us watch film classics of the season about giving and risking for others, about the magic and miracle that is this holiday season, we don’t always appreciate the lesson.
99 years ago, somewhere in Flanders, in the Northern region of Belgium, there was singing in watery and flooded muddy pastures and trenches.
Some say guttural voices were first heard in German, singing, “O Tannenbaum,” and then other voices were heard in the King’s English, singing “The First Noel,” but the voices were conjoined when, in Latin, known to Germans and British alike, they could all sing together the familiar words, “Adeste Fidelis, laeti triumphantes.”
World War I had been underway for four months and it had wrongly been anticipated at the outset of the war, that it would all be over in time for Christmas. But it wasn’t.