A temporary truce

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A temporary truce

Post by Abigail G. on Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:24 pm

Here's a story I read in Greg Boyd's book "The Myth of a Christian Religion"...it was powerful - made me stop and think for a minute. See if it doesn't do the same for you:

"On the battlefields of Ypres, Belgium, during the winter of 1914, British and French troops had for weeks been engaged in a fierce battle with the Germans. The two sides were lined up for miles in trenches a mere sixty to eighty yards apart. Both sides had already suffered heavy casualties.

On Christmas Eve, several German troops put small candle-lit Christmas trees outside their trenches and began singing carols. Then, remarkably, some British and French troops began to sing along in their own language. Before long, up and down the miles of opposing lines the enemy soldiers were singing carols together. The miracle of the moment, contrasting so sharply with the hateful killing that had gone on just hours before, brought tears to some men's eyes.

But the real miracle happened next. At some point, soldiers on both sides began raising signs in the enemy's native language wishing them a Merry Christmas and, in some cases, calling for a Christmas reprieve from fighting. After a while, soldiers on both sides slowly began to put down their weapons and venture out of their cold, muddy trenches to greet one another in "No Man's Land," the space between the two sides. Combatants shook hands and began exchanging gifts - tobacco, cognac, newspapers, chocolate, and whatever else they had. There are even reports of enemy soldiers trading spare guns for soccer balls and other items.

With such an informal truce in place, soldiers first buried the decomposing corpses of their fallen comrades. There are several accounts of combatants helping each other bury their dead and holding joint Christian burial services. Then, for the next week, the two sides enjoyed the Christmas season together. Soldiers played soccer. They shared family photos. Where the language barrier could be overcome, friendships were formed (many Germans had gone to school or worked in Britain before the war). There are accounts of certain combatants laughing hysterically (possibly inebriated) as they lay on the ground together at night and used their pistols to shoot at stars rather than at each other.

Unfortunately, when word of the truce got back to the generals on both sides, they were furious. Orders were issued to resume fighting immediately. On January 1, 1915, the killing picked up where it had left off a week earlier. It wouldn't end until another eight million lives had been wasted.

I've sometimes wondered what it must have been like for these soldiers to resume fighting. The night before the young man in the trench across from you was a friend with whom you laughed and shared stories. Now you have to try to kill him. Why? Because he had been born in a different country-something neither of you had any control over. ...As the soldiers bonded, they couldn't help but realize that, had they been born in the same country, they might have become best friends instead of mortal enemies."

What a moving story, no?

_________________

I've seen dreams that move the mountains, hope that doesn't ever end, even when the sky is falling, I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new, that's what faith can do.
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Abigail G.

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Favorite Scripture Verse? : Psalm 52:9 "I will thank you forever, for you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly."
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Re: A temporary truce

Post by Sonia J. on Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:06 pm

Wow. That is a really thought-provoking story. Really cool how they all became 'friends', and really sad that they had to fight each other after all that. I could never even imagine having to try to kill a group of people that I had just made 'friends' with!Sad
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Sonia J.

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Re: A temporary truce

Post by Amy I. on Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:03 am

yeah, I agree. I can't imagine what it must have been like...
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Amy I.

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