Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas": Christmas Eve anniversaries -- 1914, 1944 and 1776 -- and dark thoughts upon this season.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

-- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung by Judy Garland in 1943, at the height of World War II.


Christmas truce in No Man's Land, 1914.

The Christmas truce is a term used to describe . . . that between British and German troops stationed along the Western Front during Christmas 1914 . . . The . . . truce began on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts, were exchanged, such as whisky, jam, cigarettes, and chocolate. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year's Day. The truce occurred in spite of opposition at higher levels of the military. . . British commanders Sir John French and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien vowed that no such truce would be allowed again, although both had left command before Christmas 1915. In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to try to ensure that there were no further lulls in the combat. Troops were also rotated through various sectors of the front to prevent them from becoming overly familiar with the enemy. -- Wikipedia.


Yesterday I sat in a Ruby Tuesdays restaurant in Trussville, Alabama, while having lunch with my daughters at the eatery of their choice and eavesdropped on the conversations at surrounding tables. It is impolite, I know, but I couldn't help but note the subdued and serious talk of folks from all walks of life. This, it would seem, is not a very merry Christmas for many people. At one, two friends, one apparently a cop, the other a soldier, talked of guns, ammunition and increasing crime. At the one on my right, a black couple talked quietly in encoded generalities of increasing economic pressures (one of them had lost their job, but I couldn't quite make out which) so as not to worry their young children, who were in any case preoccupied with their little play toys. They too, it seemed, had recently lost a friend in another city to a deadly home invasion.

Across the way, a middle-aged businessman spoke of liquidating his 401K and other retirement savings to buy real property with it -- ANY real property, he said -- in advance of what he predicted would be this coming year's hyperinflation, "because the goddam government is running the goddam printing presses."

There is a sense abroad in the land that it only gets worse from here -- that, whatever 2010 brings is going to be far worse than most of us have seen in our sheltered, generally prosperous, safe and happy lives.

So it was, idly listening to the ill-at-ease express their sober concerns, so in contradiction with both the miracle of the Christ child and the happy ending of a Dickens' Christmas Carol, that I found my own forebodings validated by the impromptu and anecdotal opinion poll.

2010 will be a watershed year. Whether it is to be a 1775, an 1861, or merely a 1968 remains to be seen. I thought of this, and the 1914 Christmas truce, as my girls critiqued what they felt was the declining quality of the Ruby Tuesdays' salad bar.

In 1914, the two sides celebrated Christmas because they shared common Christian values. The holiday was in keeping with their deepest held beliefs and juxtaposed their longing for the peace of the season against the horror and misery of war.

Yet what, if anything, do we share with these people who seek to take our property and liberty? Modern American collectivists can't sing a bar of Christmas carols they never learned. Can there ever be a truce with such people who represent, at most, merely an appetite for other people's liberty, an over-whelming compulsion to tell the rest of us what to do, where to go, how to act and how much to pay for the privilege? In truth, they do not worship God but government. What truce, however temporary, can be called with such people who have never called a truce in their own assaults on our God-given rights? I think that this coming struggle, the one that decides who we are as a people -- free or slave -- will be fought as "war to the knife and knife to the hilt." There will be no Christmas truces in the next American civil war.

Christmas in Bastogne, 1944.

From there my mind flitted to another Christmas Eve, in 1944, and to Americans struggling desperately in European snows against the foot soldiers of a monstrous regime. I thought of the men of the 101st Airborne hemmed in at Bastogne -- "they got us surrounded, the poor bastards." And I thought of the All American trooper on the Elsenborn ridge, with the Germans maneuvering in plain sight below in over-whelming force, declaring, "Well, I'm the 82nd Airborne and this is as far as the bastards are going to get." I thought of Eric Fisher Wood, alone, cut-off, but still fighting his one man war against the Nazi rear echelons. The Germans sang "Stille Nacht" that Christmas, even though we later learned what a horrific lie that represented when we overran the camps. Only then did we discover how little in common we had with the German collectivist herd men.

Washington crossing the Delaware, om his way to kill German mercenaries at Christmas, 1776.

Then I wandered back to another time when Americans, not yet fully considering themselves as such, fought Germans in the snow, as Washington, gambling everything on one desperate throw of the dice, attacked the Hessian mercenaries of King George III at Trenton.

Chapter 32 of Absolved, which I will post later today or tomorrow as my ironic Christmas present to you Irregulars, also juxtaposes war's killing against a backdrop of this sacred Christian holiday.

I wish the world were not so, but it is.

We can only answer for our own conduct at such times. So take some time to be with your family and friends, celebrate the miracle of Christ's birth, and try not to ponder too much on the evil that 2010 portends. There will be plenty of time for that.

It may well be that these are the last moments of peace and prosperity we will know for a long time to come. Treasure them, and each other.

Have a blessed Christmas, and don't forget to thank God for the privilege.

Mike
III

34 comments:

refurbished laptops said...

Thanks for such a beautiful post.

I've told lots of people about the christmas day truce where they played soccer, and so many people didn't believe me!

Now I have somehwere to send them!

Merry Christmas, Happy new Year and God Bless.
Tony

HankH said...

Thanks for the thoughts.... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.

HankH

Carl said...

Thanks for the reminders of Christmas past. Looking forward eagerly to the next chapter of Absolved! Thanks in advance for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you Threepers.

Let us draw strength from the examples of 1944 and 1776.

A special Happy and Healthy New Year to you, Mike, and thank you for bringing us together.

Paul III

Uncle Lar said...

Bless you Mike. May we both see many joyful Christmases to come. Wishful thinking on my part I know, but a guy has to keep positive.
I highly recommend the song, Christmas In The Trenches, by John McCutcheon for a moving depiction of the WWI incident. Brings tears every time I hear it.

J E Carter II said...

I am thankful for your continued service to us all and thankful to those that have enabled you to continue, and the blessings of God that enable them to give to the cause.

I do believe that God is in control of all things and that our present situation is inevitably part of His plan. Though many of us may suffer, many of us will be strengthened by the stripping away of useless things. Our comforts have become our opiates, and while I care not to give them up, we ought realize that material comfort is a side effect of a civilized society based on the rule of law, blessed by God and preserved by the defenders of liberty. Absent the first and the last two discounted by our enemy, we will have a struggle and we will know discomfort. But we can take courage in knowing that His law is supreme as His will is supreme and He is likewise Holy. God will not suffer a wicked nation. And so, reaping as we have sewn, this nation will endure harvest after harvest of pain and discomfort until the futility of man's schemes become manifestly obvious to all that remain standing. And then, perhaps, for a time, we will stand in unity with the natural law of our Lord and hence in unity with one another.

May the wicked tremble with fear and repent if they may before the reaping comes their way.

May the righteous likewise stand firm, assured of the justness of their cause by their knowledge of the Truth, and justified by their faith.

God bless you, Mike, and all of your readers, too, Merry Christmas.

Rev. Paul said...

Merry Christmas, sir, to you and your family. I keep in mind Who is in charge, and am keeping my eyes on Him. You're probably right about what's coming, but we have real Hope on our side.

God bless you.

triptyx said...

A very Merry Christmas to you Mike, and to all of our fellow Threepers, both declared and as-yet to be awoken.

Toaster 802 said...

The Obot in chief said, "Congress is now incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country.”

MORE LIKE…

"Congress is now incredibly close to making revolution a reality in this country.”

Got Battle Rattle in your ho ho ho stocking?

Merry Christmas Mike. To you and all of yours, God Bless.

Newbius said...

Mike,

You remain in my thoughts and prayers, as does your family. Thank you for all that you do for the country. My the Lord bless you and keep you through these dark days.

Here's wishing all the best to you, from my family to yours. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Newbius

drjim said...

Thanks, Mike, for carrying the flame, and inspiring the rest of us.
Have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and keep your powder dry!
Jim UMSC
III

pdxr13 said...

On Tuesday night I was dropping off a package of brass & magazines to a friend, and his mother answered the door. I wanted to drop-off-and-go, but she invited me in for stories and cookies. How do you say no to an 83 year old lady who wants to chat?

She told me a story about her Uncle who was a Canadian Army Soldier in both The Great War and in WWII. He was shot cleanly through the shoulder in one trench warfare incident, went back and got slightly mustard gassed. He was on the front for the Christmas Cease Fire. The second war wasn't quite so glamorous when during the Blitz of London, a building fell on him and a bunch of others. Rescue people thought he was dead, and tagged him so, but he moved or made a noise, so they got him to surgery. British doctors took his right leg below the knee and put a plate in his head. That was it for soldiering, but he kept working and wrote some notebooks about the wars.

I want to see those notebooks, if they exist.

Merry Christmas!

Snaggle-Tooth Jones said...

Mike, I sat here for about 10 minutes trying to pen something in response. Seriously.

"Amen" is all I could come up with.

A very Merry Christmas to all.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mike. I reckon this will be my last.
YeOldFurt

Shy Wolf said...

Mike, thank you for all you've been doing for America and Americans. God bless you and yours this Christmas season, grant all your prayers and touch you mightily with His loving hand.
Shy III

sofa said...

God Bless you, each and every one.

And Merry Christmas.

MPA dragon said...

merry Christmas Mike.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, sir. I have enjoyed reading and being allowed to occasionally contribute for several months now. Thank you for that.

I have an uncle who spent Christmas in a freezing cold box car with some other captured soldiers. A few of them were hungry enough to share a raw rat. He never did say if he was one of them.

No. I'm afraid pelosi, reid and company don't get to have any of my money.

Merry Christmas, Patriots.

Grumpyunk said...

Thanks Mike for all you do.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you, yours and all of the Service members not home.

God Bless the USA and keep her safe.

Broadsword said...

"On Christmas day, 1776, Washington's army had collapsed from 30000 in Brooklyn in September to 2500. Less than 1 out of of every 1000 Americans had the courage to be with Washington on Christmas day. Of that 2500, 1/3 did not have boots. They wrapped their feet in burlap and they left a trail of blood marching the nine miles to Trenton. Washington decided to cross an icy river, at night, in a snowstorm, to march at night, to surprise 800 professional German soldiers. Win a surprise victory, capture all 800, and restablish the legitimacy of the Revolution. Two weeks later he had 15000 volunteers. The password that night was Victory of Death."
Video, parts 1-6 http://www.davidhorowitztv.com/restorationweekend/rw2009/280-newtgingrich (If you have issues with Gingrich, put them aside, or skip to part 6)

aughtsix said...

The password that night was Victory of Death."

In the contest between Liberty and tyranny there is no other choice.

Thank you, Mike, an hundred fold, for your past and continuing efforts in support of the reclamation of Liberty

Merry Christmas to one and all.

"May the Lord make His Face to shine upon you... and give you strength."

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you and yours, Mike.

Am in total agreement with the sentiments expressed in your post. If you take the view that life is more or less a qualification course with a stringent evaluation given afterwards for the edification of the participant, then even though from a personal perspective everything seems to have gone to hell in a hand basket, the truth of the matter is something else again.

On a humorous note I have been thinking about doing a "Praxis: Pepsi and Coke Plastic Ultra Hydration Bottles: Able to withstand Hydraulic Shock up to 200 psi. Ultra Light Weight. Ultra Low Cost. Ultra Clear. Semi-Bladder Construction. Available in Standard 1, 1.25, 1.5, and 2 liter sizes. Easily modified for nearly unlimited uses: No one available to feed your gold fish when going on maneuvers? No Problem: take them with you in your own Ultra Gold Fish Travel Container. Modify the cap with one-way valves made from plastic tubing and surgical glove fingers. When the bottle flexes as you walk the water will be aerated to keep your finny friends happy and fresh. Don't Have Gold Fish but Do Have a Sense of Humor? Then make your own Power Pump Assault Modular Monster Water Cannon - be King of the Hill with ten liters or more of 200 psi Hydraulic Power! Unexpected mouths show up for dinner? No Problem. Cut the bottoms out of your Water Cannon storage containers to provide feeding bowls for all. **MA (Moron Alert): When cooking do NOT use the Plastic Ultra Hydration Bottles. Use the damn Standard Canteen Cup, moron - or the unlined can the chili came in...** Of course if all else fails and no Ultra or CamelBack bottles are available, steal the baby's bottles - glass or plastic, nipples and all. They work wonderfully and even allow you to take fresh eggs out in the field **MA: take the eggs out of the shell first, ok?

And you are up-loading Chapter 32 as we speak, right?

Merry Christmas and God Bless;

bacsi

Sean said...

Merry Christmas, ye bummed legged Dutchman, and to all your family. It's snowing in north Texas where I live, and it's the first White Christmas we've had in twelve yrs. I think about my relatives at Bastogne, and remember that if they can do it, so can I. III, w/ a CIB. See you at the top.

RJMcKee III said...

Praying that you have a safe and healthy Christmas. Your voice is invaluable.
Merry Christmas to you, all IIIper patriots, and all our military in harm's way. Stand firm and stand fast to your ground of faith. A glorious remnant will stand with Him at the end.
Ray

Scott J said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours. I'll always be able to count 2009 as the year I became acquainted with you and the III'per movement.

As to the enemy we face: Someone in the comment section of another blog I read made a great point. Rather than asking them to change their minds in debate we're asking them to renounce their god. Sort of changes the equation a bit doesn't it?

Dakota said...

Merry Christmas Mike.I hope that you and yours enjoy this time as I have and look forward to the coming year. God Bless

Anonymous said...

Peace to you my man and may the Lord bless and keep you and yours. Merry Christ mass to you all.

May God save the Republic.

Anonymous said...

Well, don't know when you'll see this but I do wish you and the fam a blessed Christmas. From my own point of view and life, next year could hardly BE any worse.
And besides - I already had a bit of good luck!
Opened the mail today and found I'd won a complimentary ticket for a free prostate exam at some new health spa called "Lady Transvestia's Wellness Spa !"

It says I can invite a friend, so if you wanna go with me, give me a call!

- j - ( parapacem until blogger shut me down )

Top of the Chain said...

A similiar conversation was I privy to yesterday at a Denny's. Two gentlemen were talking about the presidential line of succession and how Pelosi would end up in charge if....

I wanted to say no Ft. Sumters, but thought that their conversation was none of my business.

shiloh1862 said...

May God Bless Us All.

Pickdog
III

skybill said...

Hi Mike and all,
'Not much I can add but just to say we made it thru another year and hope we'll be back next Christmas same time same station all still breathing under our own power!! One of my old Skydivin' Buds used to send out Christmas cards of a really neat sunset skydive with the words,"Peace has always been where ever you can find it." My wish to you, yours and all.

III,
skybill

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas. The birth of the Prince of Peace, who taught a moral lesson on violence that perhaps some here might mull over a bit more--'if a man strike you on the cheek, turn him the other cheek.' The Prince of PEACE, my friends, not the Prince of guns and violence and war. The Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas to you all. May peace surprise you in the time to come as you are thinking about other things.

suek said...

>>talking about the presidential line of succession and how Pelosi would end up in charge if.... >>

The obvious conclusion is that you have to make sure your priorities are in order. You have to prepare. And sometimes, that means changing the order of plans.

>>The Prince of PEACE, my friends, not the Prince of guns and violence and war.>>

The gospel starts with "At that time, Caesar Augustus ordered a census of all people be taken"...

Have you ever wondered _why_? The length of time required for such a census would make it irrelevant even before it was completed...so...why? What was the purpose? Voting wasn't exactly an issue...

Taxes? or as my husband suggested, was it more along the lines of determining who the possible/probable insurgents were.... We've done the same thing in Iraq - identified everybody, so we'd know who didn't belong. Remember too, the feast of the holy innocents, who they were, and why. And why the Three Wise Men didn't go back the way they came.

Something to think about. Just because He was the Prince of Peace doesn't mean the times were peaceful.

Happy D said...

Merry Christmas a bit late. And a happy new year a tad early to you Mike and all the rest of you.

Lets hope and pray this year is better than the most optimistic of us could dream. And prepare like it will be a thousand times worse than the most pessimistic could come up with in his or her worst nightmares.

As for our dishonored opponents keeping a truce just google Tet. Merry Christmas to them as well.