Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
--Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol" 

Hello, dear readers,
I hope you are enjoying a very happy holiday season. In the past days, my mind has turned many times to the ghosts of the 1914 Christmas truce, those soldiers who, despite the appearance or assumption of complete and bitter opposition, chose to set aside their differences in the spirit of togetherness and shared joy. They celebrated something bigger than themselves and, in so doing, they found that peace can be chosen--that peace can be lived.

While this event and the story have a certain magic to them, there is nothing particularly supernatural or fantastical about the Christmas truce. It was a human decision, a collective conscious gravitation away from conflict.

We have much to learn from these ghosts of Christmas 1914. Crossing the artificial divides that we build around ourselves, choosing peace, choosing tolerance, understanding, and care, acting daily on behalf of these values and their continuance. Even our ghosts could not make this chosen peace last any longer than a single Christmastime, but we can accept what is still a remarkable gift and try to keep it all the year.

I will close this post with a quote from one of my previous holiday posts here at Ghosts of 1914:

The real message of the Christmas Truce has nothing to do with any shop, business, or any commercial objective, no matter who presumes to put their stamp on the telling of its story or how a retailer might seek to stir our emotions.  Those of us who have long been moved by this event have known that the real message is something that belongs to everyone; it is a gift that can never be transformed into a commodity. And what is that message? It's a simple one, in my opinion. "This was possible", the ghosts of the Christmas Truce tell us, giving us a glimpse of the desire for peace that lives in all of us.

A British officer's photo of soldiers meeting during the Christmas Truce of 1914. © IWM, Item Q 11718.

With my best wishes for peace and joy now and all the year,


© Fiona Robinson

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