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By David G. Duggan ©
December 28, 2022

On Christmas Eve I was diagnosed with Covid. It was at least the second time I'd had the disease. The first was at its onset and only confirmed three months later when I tested positive for the antibody. Between March 2020 I'd been vaxxed and boosted, and while I've had symptoms I didn't consider it important enough to have a nurse stick a swab up my nose to determine if I had any brains up there. I'm not sure that she found any brains but she did find the virus.

My vaccine experience makes me reluctant to get more jabs as I have found that the cure is worse than the disease. This year's isolation drew me to other stories of forced isolation: pastors Bonhoeffer and Wurmbrand, and the thousands of soldiers who were engaged in the last century's global conflagrations.

Nearly 80 years ago, my father was in a Navy hospital recovering from a broken wrist suffered playing service football in a Marines v. Navy game. It spared him from Iwo Jima. A friend's father was at Bastogne in Patton's Third Army trying to save McAuliffe's division in the Battle of the Bulge. I don't know what scars he bore from that experience.

One-hundred-eight years ago on Christmas Eve the Germans and British put down their arms to observe the birth of the Prince of Peace. In what some described as a "sing-off," the opposing forces belted out Silent Night in their own languages, and then spent the following day exchanging treats, playing soccer, and sharing photographs of loved ones back home. Hostilities resumed the next day.

I've always found Silent Night to be vapid: devoid of real meaning or historical accuracy, at best a silly paean to a birth unlike any other (as anyone who has witnessed one will tell). Yet if people in the depths of the trenches of human depravity can come together over that hymn, then maybe there's hope.

Silent night. All is calm. All is bright....

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago. He is a frequent contributor to VOL

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