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Massacre and merriment

19 December 2014

December 24th, 1914.

"WHO of us thought, this time last year, that the greeting of A Merry Christmas in 1914 would have to be spoken in a very special sense? Even those whose claim to the gift of intelligent anticipation cannot now be questioned would scarcely have ventured to predict that events would turn out exactly as they have done. Probably no one ever dreamt, for instance, that a new Massacre of Innocents would be ordered by a new Herod, ruler of a land that was the very home of the cult of childhood, of sweet lullabies, of gracious family usages, of tender household traditions. How can we keep our Christmas merriment unspoilt by the sorrow for the desolated homes of our fellow countrymen, and by horror and anger at the crime the enemy has committed, for no purpose, as it would seem, other than to satisfy Berlin's demand for blood? Yet, even this cloud of national sorrow has its silver lining. The war has drawn us all closer together. Before its outbreak we had become a grievously disunited family, but from henceforth, duke's son having served in the trenches with cook's son, both alike animated by a spirit of patriotism, class hatred should be impossible. This would be a great gain indeed. And a greater gain still would be the return to old ideals of conduct and living, which had come to be despised, but, in this, time of testing, are appraised at a higher value. We believe also that the outcome of the war both for France and England will be a great revival of Christian belief and practice.

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