power of christmas

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    Lt. Gitz Rice belonged to a famous Canadian regiment which was sent to France in World War I. His regiment fought across the bleak no-man's-land under fierce fire from the enemy.

    One unusual instrument Rice's company took with them was a piano which Rice used to compose the famous war-time song, "Mademoiselle from Armentieres."

    On Christmas Eve the piano was brought to the front-line trenches. That night, an eerie quiet settled over no-man's-land that felt like a lull before deadly attacks at daylight. Enemy troops were so close they could be heard talking.

    Shortly before midnight, Rice began playing Christmas carols in a British trench. The melody, "Silent Night, Holy Night," rang out and pierced the cold, frightening night. Then he played "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

    The Canadian soldiers joined in and sang with great gusto. Suddenly they were startled to hear the German soldiers joining them in song: "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht." Then followed other carols familiar to Christians everywhere.

    Rice then played a German aria from Wagner's "Tannhaeuser." As he did a Canadian soldier climbed out of his trench, stood in the open and sang the words.

    "Mehr! Mehr!" (More! More!) shouted the Germans. Then one of their own men climbed out of his trench, standing as a possible target for the British rifles, and blended his rich baritone voice with that of the Canadian.

    At least for one night the message of Christmas broke through to those battle-weary soldiers as they laid their guns aside and sang together the story about the greatest event the world had ever seen—the story of God coming to earth as a baby to save lost mankind and ultimately to end all wars forever.

 
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