With hearts and spirits defeated by the notion that the war would be over by Christmas, men and boys turned veterans- found their morale at a low point. Both sides longed for an end to the bloodshed. On Christmas Eve, a British private, Frederick Heath, relayed in a letter home that German forces illuminated their trenches and chanted in unison for the English Soldiers to “come out here to us.”
Such practices occurred in numerous other fronts along the battlefield. In some areas both friend and foe joined together to sing carols, which prompted a few brave scouts to walk the long walk across no man’s land and then the magic occurred, the very spirit of the season conquered the very essence of the “us versus them,” mentality.
As forces approached each other, bayonets were replaced with handshakes, instead of bullets, cigars were exchanged. The dead were retrieved, stories were told, humanity prevailed.
Today we do not find ourselves in literal trenches on the battlefield, but a distinct commonality can be identified between our modern circumstances and that of our allies over one hundred years ago-division.
After a grueling election, worsening racial segregation, and other events that have promoted our differences over our commonalities in a negative light, we find ourselves in the middle of no man’s land-territory that could prove detrimental to our very existence.
Yet, like our predecessors, all we need are a few brave souls to extend a hand and prove that a ‘cease fire,’ can indeed provide safe harbor for conversation, and above exemplify the very essence of the Christmas Spirit- love.
We can be those brave souls.
We can be the peace-keepers, the listeners, and even instigators that proclaim,”no shots will be fired! Come and greet us.” This Holiday season our country, and even our world needs us. Let us dare to illuminate the trenches. I believe in us.