Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
One hundred years ago, rows of
trenches bordered a No Man's Land, sometimes only sixty yards apart. Huddled in
the muddy trenches with barbed wire, bombs, shells, lice, mice, rats, cats, corpses,
cold rain, bullets, and filth were ordinary British and German soldiers. (Also
present were French and Belgians on whose land the war waged.)
In this first Christmas season of
the Great War, the soldiers lacked strong feelings about fighting and killing
each other. The live-and-let-live attitude concerned a British commander.
Neither side fired during mealtimes. They shouted friendly and rude banter
across the killing field, sometimes tossing newspapers weighted with a stone.
Hardly the stuff of mortal combatants.
One morning, a British officer
wrote, the Germans came up from their trenches, hands raised, and retrieved
their wounded. The British did likewise. Afterwards, they talked all morning
and smoked each other's cigarettes. The Germans seemed like "extraordinary
Arthur C. Michael's lithograph "The Christmas Day Truce of 1914"
The Germans took the initiative
again on Christmas Day. In one sector, tiny Christmas trees with candles
clamped to their branches appeared on the parapets of their trenches. They were
serious about observing the day. The sound of singing drifted across No Man's
Four German privates came over on
Christmas morning to wish the British a happy Christmas. They told the British
captain who went out to meet them that they had no orders from their officers.
They simply came over in goodwill.
Fraternization resulted in
addresses exchanged as well as souvenirs such as buttons, belt buckles, and
German spiked helmets.
The British Expeditionary Force
High Command, having reports of unarmed Germans running across No Man's Land
with Christmas trees, ordered local commanders to prevent any reoccurrence. Few
complied. The troops were eager for a truce.
Where they couldn't speak the
language, they made themselves understood by signs, according to a British
corporal. "Everyone seemed to be getting on nicely. Here we were laughing
and chatting to men whom only a few hours before we were trying to kill!"
Christmas fraternization was
ordered curtailed the following year by both sides, but for one day in 1914,
peace reigned over the battlefield.