Christmas and The Great War – Christmas 1915

Once more Christmas is at hand with its intermingling of homely and sacred thoughts, feelings and memories. To many who read the School Magazine Christmas Day will have outwardly the same setting as usual in the old home, though indeed in many cases the very light of the home may seem to be wanting. To others of us the old homely Christmas is a memory that is a great and lasting possession. Many pictures come into my own mind which will be equally recognised by others. These are some of them: An old village church, wreathed with everygreens, sprinkled with holly berries, and lighted only by candles : a glowing nursery fire behind its high fender, the central spot in a room where one lamp is burning, lighting up the many coloured pictures on the walls, with twigs of yew, ivy, and holly stuck into them: young faces, eager and mysterious, telling of the preparation of Christmas gifts, and happy in the anticipation of the fat stocking that will be felt presently in the dark: a frosty sky with its stars reminding everybody of the shepherds watching their flocks under the sky: and besides all these, and many more there is always the picture of the Group in the stable, on which Christian art has lavished herself with a heart full of love and reverence. Sounds; too, make themselves heard : the carols, the happy greetings, and the ceaseless rise and fall of the persistent motive, “Peace and goodwill-goodwill and peace!” But now, for a second time, the thunder from the great amphitheatre of war rolls round and round, and threatens to stifle the music which tells of peace and goodwill. There are two thoughts, which, I think, may do something to help us hold firm to our faith that there will be no mockery in repeating the old Christmas message at this time. In the first place we shall do well to remember that Christ made peace and goodwill possible, as never before, to men, and if His Law of Truth and Love had been obeyed by those who call themselves His followers, there certainly would not have been this awful strife, and, for our comfort, wherever His standard of Truth and Love is upheld, progress is being made towards the fulfilment of His Word.

The second thought that may help some of us is that, besides the pictures of our Lord as the Good Shepherd, the Compassionate Friend of those who mourn, the Figure with the child in His arms, while others press around Him to receive His touch of blessing, besides, I say, the peaceful homely pictures of our Lord, of which the Gospel is full, there is yet another picture of Him as the Warrior on the white horse, Whose Name is Faithful and True, Who goes forth with absolute certainty, conquering and to conquer, in spite of the terrible force of the enemy, which is described as being like blood even up to the horse’s bridle.

So let us, more than ever before, pay our homage to the Little Child, acknowledging that with Him is always the possibility of peace and goodwill, and let us march confidently on under the banner of Him Who is in very reality Faithful and True.