PEACE at Christmas Time
In this season of purported goodwill to all mankind, who in their shared humanity profess a need for peace on this earth of ours, I find myself thinking of the World War I Christmas Truce…
The Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.
When humanity can be found in such brutal conditions and in the hearts of opposing troops then surely this clearly demonstrates that peace is an attitude. Those soldiers in the WWI trenches went against the orders and expectations of their Officers and found within themselves a common humanity. Within the existential angst of the nonsense of war they found empathy and actively chose to take a break from hostilities.
The soldiers’ compassion for each other was allowed to last for only one day. In my consulting room all too frequently I hear of seasonal benevolence fading into resumed battles as the season of goodwill slips quietly into a new year.
Peace is an attitude, it can be expressed as a deed, an expression, a look, a touch…. it is in anything that uplifts another person. Could the world not be a better place if human kindness and goodwill to all were practised as a choice on a daily basis ?