British and German soldiers lay down their guns to sing Christmas carols on December 25, 1914.
How could this happen? Pope Benedict XV encouraged a Christmas truce but the idea was rejected. But the Christmas miracle began on Christmas Eve as men on both sides began to sing carols in their native language. Below is a first hand account:
“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 is really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
The next morning, men from both sides emerged from the trenches shouting “Merry Christmas” and joining each other on the stretch of land between the enemies called “No man’s land.” These soldiers who were shooting at each other just a day or two ago, now were exchanging gifts of cigarettes and chocolate. This moment was not peace but only a truce was also a moment for both sides to bury its dead. The shooting began again on December 26.
But for a few moments enemies lay down their guns and hatred. The soldiers accomplished something the Pope and their generals could not do.
Even “The War to End All Wars” was not powerful enough to “Kill the Christmas Spirit!”