Margaret's eyes misted over as she ran her fingers over the glass cherub and she said this little messenger means more to me than all those fancy ornaments. For it brought home the true meaning of Christmas to my family many years ago. It was December 1914, and Britain was waging a war against the Germans and their allies that would later be known as the First World War. Margaret's Father, John, a Lieutenant in the British Army was posted on the warfront in France. Snow was beginning to fall on the trenches where John and his company were stationed. John missed his wife Emily and daughter Margaret.
Several miles away was a similar trench manned by the Germans and in between was a vast stretch of no-man's land. Across the territory ran a barbed wire fence their boundary. But on Christmas Eve, something happened that they would never forget. At around five in the evening, German voices floated from across the fence singing Stille nacht, heilige nacht ... In the fading twilight, John and his friends realized that they had never heard a lovelier carol. And when the Germans finished, the British soldiers applauded, before breaking into an English carol. And when they finished, the Germans applauded and sang another German carol and this went on for quite a while. Then the Germans called the British to come over and when the British insisted that the Germans come forward first, a German officer rose from the trench unarmed and climbed over the fence to talk to the British Captain. Soon the two leaders agreed that there would be no shooting on Christmas day and it went down in history as the famous Christmas truce!
Soldiers from both sides climbed out of their trenches and a bonfire was lit. Soon soldiers and officers were shaking hands with men they had been trying to kill just hours earlier! And when it was time to leave, they traded pictures, cigarettes, belts, badges, trinkets and gifts. So it was that Karl pulled out a tiny glass angel from Dresden and pressed it into John's hands. Take this home to your little girl, he said and wished John the peace and joy of Christmas. Long after the war ended and at each Christmas, when the family gathered around the Christmas tree, the little angel reminded them about the true meaning of Christmas.
WISH YOU ALL A