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Hope – Remembering Christmas Eve 1941

 

 
Woven into the fabric of the disturbing news that continually bombards us are those moments of humanity, mostly unreported, that tell us who we really are.

The winter solstice is now past, the shortest, darkest day of the northern hemisphere, a time when throughout history we have celebrated the movement from dark back to light, renewed hope reborn. If we have learned anything in this pandemic, it is how much we need one another, not simply for a functioning society but for a functioning soul. Isolation has awakened us to the inescapable truth that an interdependent oneness binds us together.

The devastating tornado that ravaged Kentucky was immediately followed by loving acts of kindness to one another. From a message that came my way, the picture emerged of Amish serving food to 1000 of the newly homeless, pickup trucks of men with chainsaws clearing debris, a restaurant owner cooking free food on the street, and a community caring for new orphans. As someone put it, it feels good to give. That scene does not stand alone. Hidden in the annals of history are the stories of people helping people, millions upon millions, untold and forgotten, but not without effect. Who can doubt that these are the stories that form the core of humanity and define who we are.

Christmas Eve, 1914, an event happened along the Western Front that sets directly before us the wonder of the human spirit. So miraculous that many doubt its veracity, the historical evidence is that along a certain section of the front, German and Allied soldiers left their trenches, entered the no man’s land of the battle zone, sang carols, and celebrated their common humanity even as they were surrounded by the horror of war.

And so, even as we enter an uncertain future, we have great cause for celebration, and that is that we are who we are, knowing that it feels good to give.
 
Dr. Carl Krieg received his BA from Dartmouth College, MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of What to Believe? the Questions of Christian Faith and The Void and the Vision. As professor and pastor, Dr. Krieg has taught innumerable classes and led many discussion groups. He lives with his wife Margaret in Norwich, VT.

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