The 1914 Christmas Truce

Irene Manning

Jesus’ message of peace and brotherhood found dramatic expression when, on Christmas Eve 1914 in the midst of the First World War, British and German troops on the front lines in Flanders called a truce and sang “Silent Night,” as well as “The First Noel,” “Adeste Fideles,” Angels We Have Heard On High,” and “Minuit, Chrétiens” to one another. An estimated two-thirds of the troops (about 100,000 men) joined in the truce in spite of their officers’ disapproval.

For one brief interlude, peace came to the world on that Christmas Eve in 1914. The next day, the slaughter resumed. But in that moment, in the throes of a bloody global war, Christ’s message of peace and brotherhood resonated, as it continues to resonate today when we sing in celebration of Christ’s coming and the message He brought to the world. (Mindszenty Report)