words drifted across the frozen battlefield: 'Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles Schlaft, einsam wacht'. To the ears of the
British troops peering over their trench, the lyrics may have been
unfamiliar but the haunting tune was unmistakable. After the last note a lone
German infantryman appeared holding a small tree glowing with
light. 'Merry Christmas. We not shoot, you not shoot.'
It was just after dawn on a bitingly cold Christmas Day in 1914, 90 years ago on Saturday, and one of the most extraordinary incidents of the Great War was about to unfold.
Weary men climbed hesitantly at first out of trenches and stumbled into no man's land. They shook hands, sang carols, lit each other's cigarettes, swapped tunic buttons and addresses and, most famously, played football, kicking around empty bully-beef cans and using their caps or steel helmets
as goalposts. The unauthorised Christmas truce spread across much of the 500-mile Western Front where more than a million men were encamped.
What is the point of that? Dear friends allow me this rant, and read on.
That was over 80 years ago. Men, who were enemies at war killing one another by the thousands, stopped fighting and crossed the field of battle to celebrate Christmas. CHRISTMAS, the celebration of Jesus Christ, you remember him, the man upon which the entire Christian faith is based (Christianity, by the way is the main religion of the United States). The man who was sent down from heaven to die for our sins. As I have said in the past I am not an overly religious man. I am among the worst Catholics in the world, I look at my watch during mass, and grow restless when it goes past the 42.5 minutes I am accustomed to. I haven’t been to mass since I left home, I use the war as my excuse, yet I know in my mind it really is no excuse. Yet now I see in the “news” that there is an attack on Christmas at home. Some people are offended by it. Let me get this correct; the rationale is that it is a religious holiday and it may be deemed offensive to some. Am I correct? The United States is a nation founded on the Judeo Christian belief system. So, exactly whom is it offending?
If you are offended by MILLIONS of Americans annually feeling good about themselves, and spending time with family, spreading cheer, and oh yeah, remembering God I have issue with that. If stores are so concerned with offending people that they are removing any mention of a holiday that American’s have celebrated since before these United States even existed then I hope their December sales tank.
I have never been a fan of December and the holidays, I used
to think the sentiment far too commercial, and phony. Yet here in “this war” I see wreaths adorning
the doors in our building, I see a Christmas tree in nearly every office. Our Muslim hosts say merry Christmas to us as
they pass us in the streets. Yet at
home, during one of the most joyous times of the year, people are attacking one
of the holiest holidays of the Christian calendar. I am offended and angry. We take God from our schools, granted
religion in public school should be limited, but it never hurt. We remove God, from every aspect of public life, and we wonder why
children go into schools with guns, we wonder why families are disintegrating,
we wonder why the moral fiber that binds our great nation is crumbling. I think if you turn your back on lets say a friend, why then would you be angry when he returns the favor. And lets say for arguments sake there is a God, do you really want the big guy feeling slighted?
The United States is the most accepting and tolerant nation on Earth, and we are letting the few dictate terms to the many. I say stop the madness! We celebrate Hanukkah with our Jewish American families, we celebrate Ramadan with our Muslim families, we accept Kwanza and embrace it with our African American familes, yet now we are standing idly by while Christmas is attacked. I think NOT! I still feel joy on Christmas eve, when I wrap my last minute gifts for my wife. Who by the way is a Jew. We celebrate both holidays. If we are such a liberal and accepting society, then how is it that we are allowing the few to attack a holiday that the many embrace?
I remember when I was a child, the insane excitement I felt during Christmas break (oh, is it Winter Break now?) I knew that soon, I'd be able to TRASH the living room and dance about in my arsenal of new toys; you see I was an only child for many many years, and knew that the family would spoil me to no end. I was on my best behavior the quarter prior to Christmas. I’d read the WSJ, to know if consumer confidence was high or low, then I’d make my Christmas list and leave discreet hints about the house. Asking Mother what Santa’s address was. Checking the WSJ, and checking it again. I learned early on that consumer confidence in Q1 was important to the holiday season. I didn’t know why, but it didn’t matter. CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS… Oh, sorry did I offend? Me thinks thou doth protest too much!
It is the holiday season, that means Christmas, that means Hanukkah, that means Kwanza, and above all else that means LIGHTEN UP!
I think that there needs to be a 5th Freedom, an amendment to FDRs 4 Freedoms. The 5th Freedom should be Freedom from the sniveling of selfish, miserable, mean, and unhappy people. Everywhere in the world.
“I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams…”