This Christmas, choirs and football fans all over the country will help communities to remember a remarkable event that took place in the First World War. On Christmas Day, peace broke out in the trenches and there was no fighting for 24 hours. Enemies sang the much-loved Christmas carol, Silent Night, then they ventured out across No Man’s Land to exchange gifts – some even played football.
To mark the 100th Anniversary of this 1914 Christmas truce, Silent Night Carols events are being held all over the UK at football grounds, schools, cathedrals and churches, using a specially-commissioned, contemporary version of Silent Night, with a new verse and chorus.
These events are inspired by HOPE Together, a national Christian mission movement, and have the backing of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who is President of the Football Association, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby.
In the introduction to the Silent Night Carols programme, Prince William says: “Even in the bleakest of times, Christmas offers peace and hope. This Christmas, the Silent Night carol services are a powerful way to remember the sacrifice made by so many in the Great War, and to celebrate the peace we enjoy.”
Sports Chaplaincy UK and HOPE Together have planned Silent Night Carols as part of HOPE’s Greater Love campaign.
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s director, says: “The Christian churches, military chaplaincies and sports chaplains, who have met to plan Silent Night Carols, want people to celebrate, reflect and join us as we pray that this Christmas, people will find fresh hope for the future. Most of all, we want people to discover the peace and hope found in knowing Jesus personally – supernatural peace that anyone who knows Jesus can experience, even when you are surrounded by fighting.”
Through Silent Night Carols, HOPE is linking with the charity Tearfund to help bring hope to those affected by the war in Syria, particularly women and children.
Find out more at www.hopetogether.org.uk/christmas