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Christmas Night, 1915

by
01 January 2016

December 31st, 1915.

By an Officer

“HULLO, padre, holding a service this evening?” It was one of our adjutants who asked.

“No, there is a service in camp, but I’m going to have a real treat. I’m going to the English church.”

“I will make one, too, if I may, and I know X. would like to come.”

“Delighted,” I answered.

Near by a well-known London specialist is sitting. “I’m coming, too, padre, if I may.”

And so we four, the specialist, the university professor (the adjutant), the subaltern, and the padre, started out for the English quarter. The little church, which we reached in good time, recalled many a village church in the old land. A sudden awe came over us. The spiritual touch seized us on the threshold. We fell on our knees, we men who had seen so much and often felt so little. A great emotion shook us. Tears welled up in our eyes, a great joy, and “the peace which passes all understanding” took possession of our souls, for there in the silence we confessed all the shortcomings and failures which were so real to us now. We prayed as we had not done for many months. The spiritual touch had come to us again. We thought of our Confirmation days, those quiet Communions in the loved church at home, those solemn Eucharists at the dear altar, and I of that wonderful ordination day in the great cathedral. There we were amongst all that was precious to us. English men and women were worshipping in this beautifully appointed little church, a veritable oasis in the desert for weary and laden hearts. “Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.”. . .

 

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