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However, this is Christmas so I don’t want to get you too down and out . So let me share a story that some of you may have heard before. It is about the Christmas truce that occurred during World War I, on Christmas Eve of 1914, that first year of the War

German and British forces were facing each other on the battlefield, each in their muddy

trenches, separated by a strip of flat, ugly land intersected with barbed wire.

The air was cold and frosty, of course, because it was winter, and things were very quiet. Both sides had to keep alert, however, as there was the odd shadowy figure creeping across the no-man’s land.

Suddenly, the British soldiers were amazed to see lights coming on, along the line of then enemy trenches. Then came the unbelievable sound of singing— German soldiers raising their voices to "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" — the familiar verses of "Silent Night" ending in "...sleep in heavenly peace". When the sound died away, the British soldiers replied with "The First Noel".

Back and forth, the singing went on for about an hour. Then there were voices of invitation to cross over to enemy lines. One German with great courage started walking across the "no man’s land", and was soon followed by some of his buddies, all with their hands in their pockets to show that they had no weapons. When they’d crossed over to the enemy trench, one German soldier said, "I’m a Saxon, you are Anglo-Saxons. Why do we fight?"

The soldiers on both sides started to talk together and decided to declare peace for one day, beginning in the morning, Christmas morning. As Christmas Day passed, without the usual noise of gunfire and mortar-fire, even the wild birds returned, and the soldiers fed them.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERMON for December 24, 1999

By Pastor Jim Hill

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