Thomas Fletcher (fletch31526) wrote,
Thomas Fletcher
fletch31526

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WNL-XLIII: "Heaven's not beyond the clouds, it's for us to find here"

December has come to be the most significant month of the year for me. As we trudge through the other 11 months, Christmas seems to hang out in the back of my mind -- always ready to bring out the carols or the lights or a tree. Much to my wife's dismay, I've been known to play a carol or two in short-sleeves weather. So many of the traditions in my life -- religious and secular -- come from the month of December. Although I think that being perpetually 12 years old has something to do with this, I would also wager that being born seven days before Christmas carries a bit of influence, too.

My interest in slightly obscure music finds its way into December, too. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a few of my favorite Christmas carols are songs that few others -- in my circle of friends, at least -- are familiar with. One in particular may be my favorite Christmas carol that you've never heard.

Belleau Wood tells the story of a Christmas truce in World War I. Living in a world where military resources can be anywhere on the globe in a matter of hours (not to mention the prospect of intercontinental arms), it's hard to imagine a war fought from trenches dug in the dirt. Knowing that suicide bombers and cowardly improvised explosive devices are standard threats to soldiers today, I can barely fathom calling a halt to war and celebrating Christmas in peace.

Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared by both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches the silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing a song that we all knew

Though I did not know the language, the song was "Silent Night"
Then I heard my buddy whisper, "All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me 'cause I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench and I began to sing along

Then across the frozen battlefield another's voice joined in
Until one by one each man became a singer of the hymn

Then I thought that I was dreaming for right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier beneath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me as if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live to see us find a better way

Then the devil's clock struck midnight and the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood was blown to hell again

But for just one fleeting moment, the answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds, it's just beyond the fear
No, heaven's not beyond the clouds, it's for us to find here

-Belleau Wood
Joe Henry, Garth Brooks


(Here's the link to the song if the embeded player doesn't load.)

Tags: christmas, lyrics, public, wnl
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