The Christmas Truce of 1914 is a moment in time that is an object lesson for us all.
The First World War (1914-1918) was six months in when a push for a cease-fire for Christmas took hold mainly between the German and English infantry. The men stepped out of their trenches and met the enemy on the No Man’s Land fields. And they discovered that this war, fought in the trenches was, indeed, fueled by entrenched hatred.
The fires were constantly stoked by each side’s propaganda machine. Entrenched hatred, whether on the battlefield or wherever, is a powerful force not easily overcome. And yet, the Germans and the British, on that Christmas of 1914, found common ground.
How many of us can find common ground? It is such a fundamental question applicable in a myriad of ways. Why don’t we try harder to find common ground? Is it because we don’t feel compelled enough to do so? Do we prefer to inflict pain and destruction? Too often, we want to maintain our position at all costs and find it difficult, if not impossible, to compromise. This can be in matters small and petty all the way up to matters of life and death.
The solution to many, if not all conflicts, is to step back: find perspective, see the big picture, do not take one’s self too seriously, and act in what is truly the best interest of us all. These are words but, for each of us, in our own lives, they can become acts of peace, love and understanding.