Christmas In The Trenches
Today’s Christmas book is a bit unusual. It includes a history lesson. Christmas In The Trenches by John McCutcheon with illustrations by Henri Sorensen (who was also the illustrator for The Old Shepard’s Tale, another Christmas book I reviewed) relates the tale of a grandfather and his in England on Christmas Day. After the presents and the meal the little girl remarks to her grandfather that this has been her favorite Christmas ever. She asks if Grandpa has a favorite Christmas. He does and this is the story.
Grandpa relates a tale of one Christmas during The Great War (World War I) when he was in the army and fighting in Germany. The two armies were entrenched on opposite sides of a stretch of ground called No Man’s Land and no one expected there would be any break in the fighting. But just after midnight on Christmas Eve a sentry signaled for silence and through the cold dark night, the sound of singing was heard. The words were unfamiliar but everyone quickly recognized the tune: Silent Night. (Stille Nacht in German,) When the familiar Christmas carol ended the British soldiers responded by singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
And then they all watched in wonder as German soldier carrying a white rag ventured smack into the middle of No Man’s Land carrying a candle-festooned Christmas tree. Then soon both armies were congregating around the tree, exchanging presents and celebrating Christmas together. Based on a true story, this book evolved from folk singer John McCutcheon’s song, also titled Christmas In The Trenches. This book is Highly Recommended to anyone wanting remember the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.