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Pray for Peace

Christmas in the Trenches

Australian infantry wearing gas masks, Ypres, 1917

Australian infantry wearing gas masks, Ypres, 1917

Q. Dear Sister Alma Rose: How can we end all wars?

A. Honey, if Sister Alma Rose knew the answer to that question, they’d make her a queen and give her a palace. Or hang her on a cross.

Perhaps y’all have heard the story of “Christmas in the Trenches”:

The “Christmas truce” is a term used to describe several brief, unofficial cessations of hostilities that occurred on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day between German and British or French troops in World War I, particularly that between British and German troops stationed along the Western Front during Christmas 1914. In 1915 there was a similar Christmas truce between German and French troops, and during Easter 1916 a truce also existed on the Eastern Front. —Wikipedia

It is said that after the particular truce described in the song “Christmas in the Trenches” (by folksinger/songwriter John McCutcheon), the soldiers were unable to or refused to fight and had to be sent home. Sister Alma Rose does not know whether this is true, nor does she know whether it makes them heroes or fools (cowards they certainly were not), nor should it reflect on the courage and honor of those who stayed and fought, or of those who do so till this day.

Mohandas Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi

Sister Alma Rose remembers the so-called antiwar movement of the 1960s with great sadness. The most zealous of those in the movement were as much at war with “the Establishment” and “the military-industrial complex” as the United States was at war with North Vietnam. They had forgotten the truth articulated through the ages by wise men and women — wiser, perhaps, than Sister Alma Rose(!)….

Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me….
Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

You must be the change you want to see in the world.  —Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

The most potent weapons against war, Sister Alma Rose believes, are inner peace and prayer.

End first the war within —
The din of clashing tides;
The stormy seas no Nature wrought
Are drowning you inside.

Be thankful, as you ought,
For every simple gift —
The shaft of sun, the drenching rain,
The swallow and the swift;

The cycles that, unseen,
Will thaw the frozen pond
And loose the seaward-bounding stream
To quench the thirsty ground.

“Know thyself”; your dreams
And inclinations feed;
For when you hand your talents ‘round,
’Tis God’s own voice you heed.

* * *

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