Gerry Lynch is an Irish singer best known for his singing of ‘A Silent Night – Christmas 1914’, this moving song by Cormac MacConnell will be heard on many Irish Radio Stations over these days of Christmas. It tells the moving story of how some soldiers declared their own unofficial truce!
On Christmas Day 1914, some German soldiers left their trenches and called out “Merry Christmas” in English across No Man’s Land. The German troops were unarmed. The British Soldiers began to realise that it wasn’t a trap and so dropped their arms. Both sides, we are told, shook hands, exchanged gifts of chocolate, cigarettes. Together, they sang Christmas Carols and in particular ‘Silent Night’. Truly the spirit of Christmas was evident.
How in the singing of that beautiful hymn the celebration of Christ’s love managed to bring
sworn enemies together, even for a period of time! Even beneath the pain and sadness of war the innate decency of humanity shone through. Not even a World War could destroy the true spirit of Christmas.
This Christmas we think of Ukraine, of its people displaced, battered, but not broken!
We see also protests in Iran, the suffering in Afghanistan, we see Christians, many of whom are Catholics being targeted in Nigeria. As a people, in the depths of our being, we long for peace. We hope, and we pray for peace. As we contemplate the scene of the crib, we behold Jesus, the Saviour of the World. Christmas is that enduring promise that in and through Christ, his light of love and peace overcomes the deepest darkness. We believe, we profess, Jesus as the light of the World! And we are called with a Christmas hope to welcome that
light into a world yearning to receive it.
This Christmas, as every Christmas, we celebrate that moment when God took on human flesh and lived among us. As we contemplate that remarkable scene at the stable in Bethlehem we pray a troubled world may hear anew those inspiring and soul-filled words:
“Silent Night, holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace.”
May we, each of us experience that Christmas gift of Christ’s peace and love ….
individually, together and for our World.