Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Favorite Christmas Song

You won't hear it much on the radio, but if you go here and scroll down to the Youtube vids at the bottom of the page, you'll get it along with a very appros slide show.

It's called "Christmas in the Trenches" and it's by folk singer John McCutcheon.
It's based on a true story. It goes like this.
On December 24, 1914, somewhere on the front lines near Ypres, Belgium, British and Germans huddled down in their cold trenches and foxholes, shivering and keeping their heads down.
The Germans started hanging candles on the trees that were left standing in the area, and at some point, one of them started singing carols.
The Brits responded with a few carols of their own, and before long they were trading songs across the blasted no-man's land. Eventually one of the officers came across under a flag of truce, and the men met in the middle.
There wasn't much, but they exchanged gifts of brandy, jam, cigarettes and warm clothing. They talked about their families, had masses for the dead and, according to some of the letters home, set up a soccer match (3-2 Germany).
This reportedly went on across the Western front, in some spots lasting through the new year, for some places only until Christmas afternoon.

It's hard to imagine something like that happening today, even at the time, headquarters was furious on both sides. As McCutcheon sings, "the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame"
Still, we could wish for it.

It was a brief, strange moment, but the story is, for me, the perfect antidote for the over-commercialization of the holiday.

Learn more about the Christmas Truce here.

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