It was December 1943 in a small town in Italy during WWII. My Father was commanding a battery of the 32nd Division Artillery. Having fought Rommel in Northern Africa, they were now moving up through Sicily into the Boot of Italy. My father tells me the story of how as they entered this small mountain town that it was empty because of Allied shelling. No Germans to defend it. There were no town’s people for they had escaped the marauding Panzer Division to find safe haven in the mountains. It was eerie as their convoy drove through the town square to the boarded up church in the center. My father’s radioman and a couple of others tore the boards from the doors to open the church doors. It was Christmas Eve and snow was falling to add more mud to the street, but a sense of atmosphere.
The radioman walked into the church and up to the old pump pipe organ. He was a church organist at home. He began to play Christmas carols as they lit candles and found cases of wine. The music peeled into the air and out into the night to be heard in the hills surrounding the town. Soon townspeople began to quietly and carefully come back to the town square. Here they joined the army that had delivered them from death. Song broke out, as carols were sung in native tongues. Silent Night Holy Night had never had such a dramatic effect as faces smiled and voices raised there peaceful notes. There was a sense of peace on earth for a short time as the war stopped and the birth of Jesus Christ was celebrated by all. The candles softened the night and the wine brought about a unique communion amongst unlikely allies.
The next day dramatic action resumed, as the Germans were not far away, not wanting to give up. They were entrenched on many mountaintops in Italy, but eventually with much sacrifice and blood, the Allies were victorious. We saw the greatest sacrifice and blood; the God of all mankind gave the ultimate sacrifice, His life on the cross that we might live a life free of sin.
Mankind will war on, as that is our nature, but the peace of God is available to anyone who desires to claim Him as Savior and Lord. That Christmas Eve in 1943, the remembrance of His birth and life brought song and silence to hurting hearts as He does today. May He be praised. And may the sacrifices of those brave fathers and sons who have fought for our freedoms be remembered with thanks giving this Father’s Day 2015.
My father sacrificed at war, wounded for his country. He sacrificed to send me to the best schools in the country. He tried to be a caring father even though he had lost his own to suicide during the first great recession when he was only nine years old. He knew the meaning of love in sacrifice.
Perhaps you have stories about your own father to tell and pass on as legacy?