Christmas Eve

A number of historical events have been influenced by the occurrence of Christmas Eve.

Aspens in Snow

Andrew Geiger / Glasshouse Images

Christmas truce

During World War I in 1914 and 1915 an unofficial Christmas truce took place. The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols. The two sides shouted Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the “No man’s land” where small gifts were exchanged. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Funerals took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man’s Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from Psalm 23

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Glasshouseimages.com Image 7103200140

Andrew Geiger / Glasshouse Images

On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast to date, the astronauts William Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman of Apollo 8 surprised the world with a reading of the Creation from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.

600px-nasa-apollo8-dec24-earthriseIn 1969, the US Postal Service issued a stamp (Scott # 1371) commemorating the Apollo 8 flight around the moon. The stamp featured a detail of the famous photograph of the Earthrise over the moon (NASA image AS8-14-2383HR) taken by Anders on Christmas Eve, and the words, “In the beginning God…”

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