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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Regarding the 'power' of Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finally, we have come to the stories about Christmas that are true.

Stories that when we hear them, we hope they are true, but they sound too good to be so.

Like, the two brothers-in-law who were determined to give each other an unwanted pair of moleskin pants.

They agreed that the pants could not be given with any damage to them.

So, they creatively found ways to give the pants to each other and made the unwrapping as painstaking as possible.

They went as far as encasing the pants in concrete, then in a box of concrete and rebar; then in an 8-feet tall-by-2-feet wide tire (of course, full of concrete).

They finally stopped when one brother-in-law tried entombing the pants in molten glass -- resulting in a pile of ashes.

Have you ever received an unwanted gift?

I haven't as an adult, but as a child, I never liked getting socks, or clothing, or homemade pajamas that felt like I was wearing a ball of steel wool.

One of the worst that turned great was this: My brothers and I each received a bottle of hand lotion and some slick-bottomed house shoes.

We squirted a line of lotion across our bedroom floor (we shared a room) and we'd run and stop at the beginning of the line and slide all the way across the room.

My parents didn't know; of course, this is evident because I am still alive.

This tale from our Christmas historical folklore is true and perhaps one of the best stories anyone could dream up if it weren't true.

According to snopes.com, in the winter of 1914, during World War I, the Germans were fighting the British and the French.

Enveloped in trench warfare, the Germans began putting small Christmas trees, decorated with candles outside their trenches.

They then began singing Christmas songs -- the words may not have been recognizable; however, the melodies were unmistaken.

Across the way, they heard the British and French singing Christmas songs as well.

Placard and posters began to crop up as each side attempted to address the other.

The most common sign was, "We no fight. You no fight."

Each side could speak just enough of the other's language to agree to a truce during the Christmas day.

Both sides began climbing out of their trenches to meet in the middle.

With a handshake, they agreed not to fire on one another.

They first buried their dead, who, during the conflict, were unreachable. They then exchanged what little gifts they had, from the care boxes their governments had given them, such as small cakes, reading materials, cognac and tobacco.

Some soldiers even used their helmets to mark boundaries for a small game of football (soccer).

When the generals found out about the ceasefire, they immediately ordered their men to resume fighting. It is said that the men purposefully fired into the sky, intentionally missing their enemies.

All total, the ceasefire was very brief, but lasted as long as until New Year's Day in some places.

The war resumed, but what a story.

What I like best about this tale is the power of the Christmas son.

In my head, it was "Silent Night," that brought the two sides together.

I have several Christmas songs that I like; several that I truly cannot stand.

However, "Silent Night," is the most angelic song I have ever heard.

Sung by virtually anyone in any given language, it is beautiful.

The song brings solemnity and reverence; sentimentality, compassion and longing; joy and happiness, all at the same time -- the song has an incredible knack for reminding me of the real spirit of the Christmas season.

My family and I wish you a Merry Christmas.