I just watched the film Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) about the miracle of a Christmas Eve truce of three armies, an historical event. The film was produced in France in 2005, of which has English subtitles. It was well done and I recommend viewing it. One of the actors, Ian Richardson, portraying the bishop, was his last film before his death. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards.
The even took place on the Western Front on Christmas of 1914, 100 years ago. During the week leading up to December 24th, 1914, German and British soldiers crossed trenches into no man's land, burying the dead and swapping prisoners. On Christmas Day they exchanged gifts, shared bottles of wine and even played football (soccer). The entire front did not join in the Christmas celebration, fighting continuing in some sectors. The commanding officers on both sides looked upon it as fraternization, and as the war progressed on into 1916, soldiers were no longer wishing to participate in a truce. This atmosphere was primarily caused by the use of poison gas. Approximately 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the unofficial truce.
Germans celebrate Christmas on December 24th more than they do on Christmas Day, as in Britain and France. The German families have a large meal on the 24th and “Father Christmas” delivers his gifts.
The truce was not reported for a week, kept from the press, but the New York Times broke the embargo on December 31st, 1914 and by January 8th, 1915, pictures were sent to the press and the Daily Mirror and Daily Sketch had front-page photos and stories.
There have been several films made concerning the Christmas Truce of 1914, as aforementioned and other, including plays beginning in 1933 and on into 2005. Midnight Clear (1992) and Oh! What a Lovely War are two other films. A Christmas truce memorial was unveiled in Frelinghien, France on November 11, 2008.
A lithograph (above) of the truce by Arthur C. Michael was published on January 9, 1915 that shows British and German soldiers exchanging gifts.
The following video is about the Christmas Truce of 1914:
The even has never been repeated, although there was an incredible encounter between a German fighter pilot and American bomber aircraft, occurring four days before Christmas 1943, as the following video reveals:
It is doubtful that such a Christmas miracle could ever occur again. Today, the major enemy in many countries are Islamic Jihadists who kill indiscriminately, have no tolerance in their intolerant religious doctrine and destroy holy places of Christianity and Judaism.
The hope for Peace on Earth, the motto of this holiday season seemingly obscure as the Christmas Truce was in 1914. However, it also a time for reflection and hope, so I wish you a ...