Another ‘Silent Night’

Here is an inspirational movie and true story for Christmas that shows that hearts can truly be changed. “Silent Night” (2002) is heartwarming, though it doesn’t hide the pain of war. The story takes place in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes forest of Europe. 

On Christmas Eve, Elizabeth Vincken and her 12-year-old son, Fritz, entered this forest to get to the family’s hunting cabin because their home had been destroyed by a bombing raid. Elizabeth wanted safety and to share with her son this holiest of nights, as she believed. This night she wanted peace.

They arrived at the cabin during the day and planned to have a peaceful Christmas Eve dinner that evening. Their day was soon interrupted by three American soldiers trying to find shelter for themselves and a seriously wounded soldier. Elizabeth offered them shelter and aid.

She welcomed the soldiers but not their guns or the reality that a war was going on outside. She had Fritz hide their rifles.

Outside one of the Americans saw three German soldiers rapidly approaching. Because of the darkness he was able to capture them, making them think he was armed. This is when the story takes on an unusual twist. The Americans planned to hold the Germans captive in the cabin, but Elizabeth forbade them to enter the cabin with guns. They decided to abide by her rules.

Tensions were high at first. They all could speak English except one German soldier, so they agreed that English was all they should speak. The wounded American needed medical attention, and it happened that one of the Germans had medical training. He saved the American soldier’s life.

Tensions eased some and they planned Christmas dinner with Elizabeth’s stew and a collection of everyone’s K-rations. They began with a prayer, then decorated a tree and sang Christmas carols in both English and German.  

This true story is testimony that God’s peace and the spirit of Christmas are available to all of us regardless of our circumstances.

Peter Pinette

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