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The Christmas Truce of 1914

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Fr Avelino Gonzalez - published on 12/24/16

Liberation from what we may ask? From sin and the vain idea that we can obtain peace, justice, or joy without God.
The angels announced the Good News to Mary and Joseph, in a world that was immersed in fear, selfishness, and war.

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy, a joy which will be for all people; for today in the town of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10).

It is Christ who brings peace to the human heart and mind because only he has risen from the dead and conquered sin and death; only he has breathed his Holy Spirit into us so that we love each other with his divine love – not our own limited love. Without the love and peace of Christ reigning in our hearts, all other attempts at peace will be fleeting. In spite of the war raging in the Middle East, and the divisions in our own nation, or in our own families (real or spiritual), Jesus Christ calms the storm and leads us besides still waters.

On December 26, 1914 at 8:30 am, a little more than 24 hours after the miraculous truce, the British commander fired three shots into the air and raised a flag with the words “Merry Christmas” written on it. The Germans replied with a similar sheet – “Thank you.” Both commanders then appeared on their parapets, bowed, and saluted each other. Two shots were finally fired into the air and ominously rang across no man’s land. The war was on again; hell on earth re-commenced.

For those men who died in the battle that ensued, there was the great certainty that on Christmas Eve 1914, during the Great War, Jesus Christ reigned through a common faith that made enemies into brothers – at least for a short while before human affairs destroyed that fraternity.

It is for this reason that we should keep Christ in Christmas; this Christmas season and always.

Fr. Avelino Gonzalez is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington and pastor of St. Gabriel Church in NW, Washington, DC. This article was originally published on

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