The Year was 1914 and the Great War was under way. Christmas season was upon the participants of war, and the scene was set for one of the greatest Christmas stories of all time. For two days, the fighting stopped, the guns fell silent, and men who had been enemies days before, came together in the spirit of brotherhood, peace, and goodwill. The soldiers came together to bury their dead, sing hymns, hold worship services, exchange gifts and play soccer. It was the spirit of Christ, the Prince of Peace that moved these soldiers to act in complete opposite of how soldiers should act. They looked beyond the propaganda, and saw in each other humanity and likeness.
To the readers of LRC this story isn't new, but it has never been told in a more beautiful and stirring way than by Walter Cronkite at Temple Square with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. Walter Cronkite's narrative is moving as he wonderfully re-creates the story in our minds. The narrative is interrupted throughout by the singing of Christmas hymns by the world-renowned choir as well as solo performances sung by young men dressed in soldiers uniforms. One such solo was by a young man singing O Holy Night in French. The narrative concludes with the most beautiful rendition of Silent Night I've ever heard. It begins with two soldiers from opposing sides singing the sacred hymn, alternating stanzas. The choir then comes in at the end of the first verse to finish the remaining two verses. While the choir is singing, photos of men and women of that tragic conflict are shown across the screen, leaving the viewer to contemplate the meaning of the event, the meaning of Christmas and the meaning of life. The Hymn then concludes as it started, with the two soldiers singing in tandem. I was moved to tears. I have never been more inspired.
This magnificent story needs to be told over and over again. Not only to ourselves, but also to our children and grandchildren. I cannot think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve, sitting around the lit Christmas tree, telling the story of those brave men, who for a brief moment, followed the example of the Master, and proclaimed peace.
This is available in hardcover book and companion CD or DVD. Whatever you choose, the book/CD or DVD or both, it is a must for any person who loves this story, and makes a wonderful Christmas gift.
The hardcover book and CD can be bought here.
December 15, 2006