Tuesday, December 20, 2016

O Tannenbaum

German and British troops celebrating Christmas to

It's almost Christmas . . . how is that even possible?  I'll miss Christmastime when it's over.  But what's really sad is that there are a lot of awful things going on in the world right now even though the holidays are supposed to be a time of love and peace.  I always think of the "O Tannenbaum" story when times are hard like this.  It was 1914, and World War I had been a horrible reality for several long and bloody months, but Christmastime somehow brought with it a feeling of beneficence between soldiers on both sides of the trenches.  Their shared appreciation for the beauty and sentiment of the holiday season is equal parts touching and heartbreaking because, while it did bring a sort of peace to the battlefront, the peace was only temporary, and men who had once shared in carols and football games were soon forced to return to killing each other.  In the words of Pvt. Albert Moren:
“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.” (from TIME)
I can only hope that maybe we'll be able to find peace this year for people all over the world and that the peace will last.  Every time I see footage from Aleppo or think of what just happened at one of Berlin's beautiful Christmas markets, I'm overcome with sadness and pain and an overwhelming longing for peace. Shouldn't we be able to learn from the past and see that love is the most important thing? 
<3 Frances  

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