Peace on Earth

—New Testament: Luke, x, 5.

The Oberleutnant held the reins to the buggy loosely in his hands and smiled at the thought of reuniting this Belgian soldier with his wife, who was about to have a baby. It was the angel that had changed his life, for the better, he decided and he would resign from the German Army as soon as he could inform his superiors that he was not fit to command a unit, that he was not even fit to be a Rifleman, for he would not kill anyone, ever again and would dedicate his life to making peace, wherever that road should take him, in the future.

The woman was in labor when they got there—there was an old farmhouse but little was left of it—the shelling having ripped most of the boards apart, and so they had gone inside what was left of an old barn, where two cows and a sheep foraged amongst scatterings of hay. There was the Belgian soldier’s sister, her husband and two children, aged five and four and two women who had as yet not left the area, even though their houses were in ruins. The four men were told by the trio of women that they could best help by staying out of the way but the Belgian soldier’s wife called to him and he bent down and consoled her, as she struggled to push out a child that was struggling to stay put, right where he was, inside her warm and comfortable belly.

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It was after two a.m., and Sammy Baldwin, Abe Schmidt and the German lieutenant were all fast asleep, lying on a bed of hay but what was to them a warm mattress, back home with their loved ones, as the trio of battle-weary soldiers’ dreams carried them to where their hearts wished they could be.

Someone—somewhere—was singing: “Hark—the Herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King—Peace on earth and mercy mild—God and sinners reconciled!”

Oberleutnant Wilhelm Laufenberg awoke abruptly and rubbed his tired eyes. Sitting up, directly across from him, sat a wide-eyed Sammy Baldwin. “Ah, Sammy, did chew hear the singing, ja?”





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