Everybody has their Christmas movies. White Christmas, A Christmas Story, Die Hard… And while I don’t watch this every Christmas, I still love this story best.
Not-so-secret secret confession: I love War movies. I don’t know why, but I always have. And while this one is entirely opposite of what one would envision a war movie to be about, I still love it just as much.
I had read about how war strips a man of their humanity. Their compassion and empathy. They are treated as robots in a machine, and are rewired to be as such. Kill the enemy, Win the War.
The beginning of this movie shows children from Germany, France, and Scotland, all reciting mantras teaching them who the “enemy” was, who must be killed. The movie goes on to show the three sides fighting against each other, as you would expect of a war movie.
But Christmas of 1914 was different. The three sides declaired a cease fire and spent Christmas together. Sharing drinks, singing songs, showing pictures, exchanging addresses and promises to keep in touch.
The War, the World, looms just outside their trenches, but for a short time, they all laid down their guns and became men again. And it is a story that warms my heart every time. Men who can open their eyes and see each other as equal, as real, flesh, blood, and heart.
And as of late, it is the sort of story we need. A reminder of what it really means to be human. Not the hatred, and anger, and violence. But the openness, and compassion, and caring. And Soccer.
This is my Christmas story of choice.