Merry Christmas and Welcome back to day 5 of the 12DOC! Today, I have part 3 of Stille Nacht! We left off with Little Hilde running to answer yet another knock at the door. (Click here for part 1 and part 2) Let’s jump back into the story and see what happens next…
Part Three: No Guns on Christmas
Before Marta could stop her, Hilde had bolted up from the table and dashed over to the door, swinging it open wide. Adler jumped to his feet as Hilde screamed and backed away.
Marta pulled the child away and stepped outside. Sarge narrowed his eyes as he pointed his pistol at the door. They could just make out rapid talking. A man’s voice rose as it said, “Americanas?!”
Sweat beaded on Adler’s forehead as he gripped his carbine. If there were Krauts out there, they weren’t coming in.
Outside, Marta spoke calmly with the ranking German soldier. He and his men had become separated from their unit and needed a place to stay the night.
Marta smiled. “You can not only find shelter here, but you will also get a hot meal. That is, if you will accept our guests.”
The young soldier eyed her. “Why wouldn’t we accept them?”
“Are they Americanas?” butted in a still younger soldier.
Marta nodded, keeping her face pleasant.
The clatter of cocked weapons filled the air. Marta frowned. “This is Christmas night, sirs, and there will be no shooting around here. I have a young daughter and I will not have her more frightened than she already is. Put your guns in the wood shed, then you may come in and we will all have a nice, nice Christmas, ja?”
“What? With Americanas?” objected the second soldier.
The leader paused for a moment. He glanced back at the shortest man in their unit, who was shivering uncontrollably. “Ja. We agree. To the shed, men.”
Marta hurried inside and turned to Sarge and Adler. “We have more stranded soldiers here to stay for Christmas. We will have quite the party, oui? But you must agree to lay your weapons aside. We will have no shooting here.”
“Not happening, lady!” Adler snapped. Sarge gripped his gun tightly. This was insane!
“We know you’ve got Nazis out there, Frau. We ain’t laying down our guns especially since we have a wounded man,” Sgt. Edwards said firmly.
Marta crossed her arms. “You are in my home and if you want the shelter of it, it will be on my terms. As you can see, they too have no weapons.”
Adler took a step back as four men clad in dark gray enter the house. He glanced at Sarge. “If we put down our weapons, they’ll rush us, Sarge.”
Joey groaned on the bed, struggling to wake up after a bout of unconsciousness. “Sarge? Sarge, what’s going on?” His eyes locked on the German soldiers, his mouth falling partway open. “Sarge!”
“We don’t have much of a choice,” Sarge whispered to Adler. He laid his pistol on the table. “Do what she says.”
Adler couldn’t believe his ears as Sarge went over to the bed to calm down Joey. “You’ve lost your mind!”
“Put down your weapons, Adler. That’s an order.”
One of the German soldiers stepped up in front of him and wrenched the weapon from his hands. “You know better than to disobey your superior, Yank.” He handed the pistol and the sergeant’s to Marta. Turning back to Adler, he said, “It’s Christmas. Can’t we all just forget the war for a little while?”
Adler backed away from him with a scowl. “Maybe you can, you hund. But some of us can’t.”
“Fair enough,” said the English-speaking German. He removed his helmet and said something to his leader. The leader shrugged and removed his own helmet. Their youngest recruit, a lad of sixteen, sat before the fireplace, rubbing his hands feverishly and coughing. The final soldier stood by the door, looking frightened over the whole situation. He said something to his leader, who simply patted him on the shoulder and unlatched the chin strap on his helmet.
Sarge rejoined the group around the table as Marta returned from putting the guns outside. Hilde grabbed hold of her skirt, eyes wide.
The leader stepped forward and addressed Sarge. “Guten Abend.”
“Uh, hello,” Sarge replied. Adler backed away as one of the soldiers held out his hand. “Don’t antagonize them,” Sarge whispered as he shook hands with the soldier instead. “It’s just for one night, Adler.”
Marta stepped forward. “Well, this brings back pleasant memories! I used to teach advanced mathematics classes and I had mostly boys.” She began to interpret what she had said to Sarge and Adler, but the English speaking German translated for her.
The leader smiled and looked at Marta. “Well then, shall we have roll call, Frau…I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your last name.”
“Engel. Frau Marta Engel. And ja, we should get to know one another. Why don’t we start? I’m Marta Engel,” she announced, raising her voice for all to hear. “And this is my daughter, Hilde.”
The leader faced the American soldiers. “Sgt. Lars Baumann.”
“I’m Cpl. Rudolph Meier,” the interpreter told them. “Most call me Rudi.”
The soldier by the door mumbled his name. Rudi grinned. “That’s Pvt. Harold Dietrich. He’s a little shy, even around his fellow soldiers.”
The leader turned to the lad, who had stood up from the fire place and taken off his over coat. “Tell them your name.”
“Pvt. Stefan Graf.” He eyed the Americans wearily. “Will they tell us their names?”
Adler scowled as Sarge said, “I’m Sgt. Chad Edwards.” He turned to Adler and nodded.
“Adler, Micah T. Private and my serial number is-”
“What? Might as well get it over with! As soon as they get their rifles and lugers back, they’ll hogtie us and turn us over to the SS!”
Sarge groaned and rubbed his forehead. “Will you quit being such a jerk and just enjoy a Christmas truce when it’s handed to you?”
Rudi bit his lip. “I know it’s not going to be easy, but we can at least try to ignore our differences for one night, especially Christmas night. I for one am tired of all the fighting and will gladly take an opportunity to forget it!”
Adler shrugged and turned his back to the soldiers. Sarge shrugged. “We can give it a try. Don’t look like any of us has much of a choice. But let it be understood: tomorrow, when we get our weapons, we promise not to shoot at one another or take anyone prisoner.”
Rudi translated his ultimatum to Lars, who nodded and shook hands with Sarge. “Agreed.”
Joey began to moan again, thrashing about on the bed and begging for relief. Rudi looked over Sarge’s shoulder. “Who’s he?”
“Pvt. Joey Fuller. He was shot two days ago. He’s very weak.”
Rudi turned to his pack and said something to Lars, who nodded in agreement. “Here we are.” He pulled out a metal box with a German red cross on the lid. “May I take a look at him?”
Would you let an enemy combatant provide medical care for your wounded comrade? Find out what Sarge does next time. Don’t forget to stop by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Hello, Merry Christmas and welcome back to Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas! Today…I do not have an installment of Stille Nacht…*looks guilty.” Today, I have a book review by a sweet author I’ve known about for a few years now, but am just know getting to know, Miss Rebekah Morris! We swapped books just recently and I am excited to give you my take on the book “Christmas Delays.” Let’s get to it!
Christmas Delays and other short storiesThree Christmas Stories from WWII
A doctor, called up for duty in the army, spends one more Christmas with his wife in an unexpected way after God’s Christmas delays strand them in a small house with another family.
Very mild weather might not feel like Christmas, but young, orphaned Peter and his older sister find the peace and love of the season with the Hampton family in spite of the sadness of war.
I’ll be Home for Christmas
Grandpa recounts the memories of his first Christmas away from home during WWII.
Such a warm, cozy read! There were three stories, each with a World War Two backdrop, which I loved so much! My favorite was Home for Christmas. *Tears* It was so sweet!
Historical Accuracy- There wasn’t a whole lot of historic detail, as far as war news and the like, but the setting was spot on and the whole story gave off a distinctly WWII atmosphere that I really enjoyed! So, yeah, I’d say it was accurate.
Content- Very clean! There was like two references to a young man carrying a girl, but she had gotten hurt and couldn’t walk. You figure out there is a possibility of a future relationship, but nothing too detailed or offensive about it. Really appreciated that! There is a reference to a few deaths (not detailed), a soldier being wounded (again, not detailed as far as violent or bloody. Just matter of fact, he got hurt), and a baby being born (no details).
Favorite Scene-I can’t say, because it would be a major spoiler, so I will go with my favorite story in this collection, which is Home for Christmas.
Overall- If you want a light, quick, cozy Christmas read, grab a copy of Christmas Delays!
Rebekah was kind enough to share a “Story behind the Story” with me about Peter’s Christmas! Here it is in her words...
I was sewing the binding on a large quilt I had just finished (it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet), and my sister had the radio playing classical music. A song came on and after listening a moment I said, “Someone is calling Peter.”
My sister looked at me. “Huh?”
“The song. Someone is calling Peter! Who is he and why are they calling him? And who is calling him?” (My sister thought I was crazy.)
I was so intrigued by this that I started writing the story soon afterwards, and “Peter’s Christmas” came into being. Now I just wish I knew what the name of that song was. 🙂
If you hear someone calling "Peter" in the background of a Christmas song, be sure and let Rebekah know! Check out her blog here and purchase Christmas Delays here.
*I received a copy of Christmas Delays from the author in exchange for one of my books and a review. I was not required to give a positive review, but that wasn't hard!*
Don't forget to swing by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun! Tune in tomorrow for Part three of Stille Nacht!
Hello and Merry Christmas! Welcome back to day 3 of 12 DOC! If you missed part one of this story, click here, then continue with this second installment! Enjoy!
Part Two: The Soldiers
“Sarge, I want to go on record of being 100% against this.”
“I understand how you feel, Adler, but we have to get Joey in out of the cold. I don’t fancy keeping him out in the cold for a third night. And you’re worn out too, so don’t deny it. Please, just cooperate.”
“You can’t trust krauts,” Adler snapped, as he helped Sgt. Edwards lower Pvt. Joseph Fuller to the ground. “Not even the civilians.”
“It’s Christmas Eve. Surely they’ll be more inviting on a Holy Night like this.”
“I bet they will,” Adler said, rubbing the side of Joey’s face in an attempt to warm him. In his other hand, he clutched a hand gun, ready to fire it if things turned bad on them.
Sgt. Edwards knocked on the door. He heard movement inside, but for nearly a minute no one came. Then the door slowly opened, revealing a motherly woman who, in spite of her efforts not to, was shaking. She gasped, then clasped her hand over her mouth. “Nein!”
“Please, er, bitta, Frau. Do you speak English?”
The woman shook her head. “Nein.” She said something else and prepared to go back inside.
“Wait, Frau, bitta!” Sgt. Edwards said, grasping the doorframe. “We’ve got a wounded man. We only ask one night’s shelter. Please!”
Marta wasn’t sure what the American soldier was saying, but she glanced around him and saw the two other soldiers, one propping up the other, whispering something into his ear. She stepped just inside and grabbed a low glowing lantern, turning up the wick as she stepped back outside. She looked at the faces of the three men. Her eyes softened. “You are just boys,” she whispered in German. She thought of her Peter…
She set her jaw, startling Sgt. Edwards. “Come, schnell.”
She held open the door. Sgt. Edwards hurried to help Joey back onto his feet. “Thank you, Frau. Danke, Danke!”
“On the bed,” she said. She couldn’t keep herself from talking to them, even though they had no idea what she was saying. She pointed to the wooden frame on the other end of the room. Adler pulled down the covers and carefully helped the sergeant lower Joey onto the wood and rope frame.
Joey moaned as the woman took over. She kept up her chatter. “Well, I’ll just use my hot tea water to clean this out,” she said, ripping the material further away from the soldier’s injured leg. She tisked as she surveyed the makeshift bandage. “Poor work, but probably all they could do…”
“Do you speak French?” Sgt. Edwards asked.
Marta’s eyes lit up. “Oui!” Soon the two were discussing Joey’s condition, making Marta’s job that much easier.
As the wash rag made contact with the injury, Joey hollered and tried to sit up and push Marta aside. Adler held him down while Sarge spoke to him calmly, but firmly, ordering him to lie still and let the nice lady care for his leg.
Tears squeezed their way out of the boy’s eyes as Marta continued what to him was akin to torture. But at last, the wound was wrapped. “Help me get him out of his things,” Marta said, proceeding to unbuckle Joey’s utility belt. Adler quickly took over, removing his friend’s gear and outer coat and jacket.
Marta pulled the blanket up about Joey’s shivering body and spoke softly to him in French, patting his shoulder and assuring him that he would soon feel much better. Joey closed his eyes.
That’s when Hilde’s crying was heard. Sgt. Edwards turned quickly towards the crying child. His heart melted when he saw her frightened eyes. Without thinking, he scooped her up and began to rock her as he carried her over to Marta.
“German brat,” Adler muttered.
Marta snapped her head towards him as she comforted her child. She might not have known English, but she knew exactly what he had said. “Would you like to sleep outside, soldier?” Adler glared at her. “Don’t ever call my child a brat again, American.”
Adler growled something at Marta before crossing the room and taking off his pack, coat and helmet. He left his toboggan on, cradled his carbine in his arms and proceeded to station himself near the fire, facing the door.
“Sorry about Adler, Frau,” Sarge said, his voice low. “He’s a good fellow, but he’s still wound up from our last engagement.”
“So I see,” Marta replied. She hugged Hilde again, whispered something to her and stood up. “Are you lost, Sergeant?”
Sarge nodded. “Two days and two nights now. The storm hasn’t helped.”
“Well, then you must be hungry. Come sit at the table and I’ll fetch you some food.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” Sarge protested.
“Go sit,” she ordered with a smile. She carried Hilde over to the table and sat her across from Adler. Hilde’s lip trembled as she saw her dolly beneath Adler’s elbow. Tears formed in her eyes. Adler glanced down at her, his face dark, lips drawn into a deep frown. He followed her gaze down to the cloth doll.
Rolling his eyes, Adler moved his elbow and tossed the doll to Hilde. “It’s not worth crying over.”
“It is when you’re five and some mean fellow’s got your baby,” Sarge teased as he took a seat next to Hilde. He smiled. “Isn’t she adorable?”
Adler grunted and kept his eyes on the door. Sarge shrugged and checked the pistol at his side: loaded and ready for him to use whenever he pulled the trigger.
Steaming cups were placed in front of the two GIs. “Tea. I was able to make some with the left over water. The soup will be just a moment.”
“No rush, Frau. You’ve done more than enough as it is.”
Adler sneered and shook his head. Sarge narrowed his eyes. “Adler, she could die just for giving us shelter, let alone tending our wounded and feeding us. Show some respect.”
“I mean, ‘Yes, Sergeant.’”
Sarge laughed. “You’ve been in the army how long and you haven’t figured out that you don’t say ‘sir’ to a sergeant?”
The corners of Adler’s lips twitched as he broke his stare down with the door. He settled onto the bench and said, “I’ll get it figured out when we march into Berlin.”
Sarge grinned. He knew Adler would come around before long. He never could stay uptight with his friends. Adler even offered Hilde a half smile. The child blinked her big blue eyes at him, then rewarded them both with a dimpled smile and a childish giggle.
“Here we are,” Marta said, placing two bowls on the table, half filled with hot soup. “Wait a moment and I’ll get you some bread.”
Adler’s stomach growled. He dipped his spoon into his soup and took a bite. He closed his eyes. It was so good!
Hilde frowned at him and said, “Mama, he’s a bad man! He didn’t thank Jesus for his food!”
Marta laughed and translated her daughter’s outrage to the Americans. Adler grunted. “My apologies.”
Knock, knock, knock.
Hilde jumped up. “Mama! It’s Papa! I know it!”
Who do you think is at the door? You’ll have to check back to find out! God Bless! (Click here for more Christmas fun at Stories by Firefly!)
Merry Christmas and welcome to day two of 12DOC! Today, as a gift to you, I wanted to share a Christmas Short Story I wrote last winter. It will be in 8 parts, so be sure and check back for the next installment! Enjoy!
Based on the True Story of Elisabeth and Fritz Vincken
Part One: Will Papa Be Here for Christmas?
Christmas Eve, 1944 - Somewhere between Allied and Axis lines
Marta watched sadly as little Hilde pressed her button nose against the window pane. “Isn’t Papa coming home, Mama? He knows it’s Jesus birthday, ja?”
Marta smiled and came to stand by her little darling, all in the world she had left. “Yes, Hilde, my little angel, Papa knows. But remember, it’s not quite His birthday yet. You have to wait one more day. Maybe Papa is waiting until then to come, Ja?”
Hilde’s cheeks dimpled as she looked up at her mother. “Ja, Mama. He waits so he can be with us all day long!” Marta nodded and gently tugged on her five-year-old’s braids. The poor dear had no understanding of war and all the terrible things that went along with it.
Their family had never been touched by war…until 1938 when Gunther and their only son, Peter, had been called into the Wehrmacht, the German army. Marta had been given work in a hospital until she was nearly seven months pregnant with Hilde, their little surprise. Since Peter was seventeen, they had assumed they would not be able to have more children. What an unexpected blessing! How excited Gunther had been! A little girl! All other men may have wanted many sons, but not Gunther Engel. His dream had come true of having his own little girl, who adored him and waited at the door for him whenever he was on leave. Peter had written about wanting to meet his little sister very badly…
Marta forced a smile. Whenever she looked at Hilde, she saw Gunther: in her dimpled smile, her crystal blue eyes and her dark almost jet black hair…even the way she cocked her head to the side and grinned with mischief. She was Gunther Engel’s girl, that was easy to see.
But she couldn’t dwell on that now. She had to get supper on the table. “Are you hungry, Love?”
A giggle and bobbing black braids was her answer. Marta grinned and turned toward the fire place where their supper simmered in a large black pot. “Hmmm…Mama has got potatoes for her angel. And, oh! She found a carrot to put with it! And some mushrooms, too! Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“Ja, ja, Mama! Papa loves mushrooms. Me too!”
That was no surprise. The child loved anything her father loved.
“Will we have stollen this Christmas?”
Marta tried to keep her voice steady as she prepared to disappoint her daughter. “No, dear. Mother couldn’t get what she needed to make the stollen. Maybe Papa can find some and bring it. And if not, we’ll get some from Auntie Mem at New Years.” The bread-like cake was one of Hilde’s favorites.
Hilde pushed her bottom lip back and forth. “I really like stollen…maybe Auntie will make lots for New Years to make up, ja?”
Marta stirred their supper; it wasn’t quite ready yet. Hilde played with the doll her father had sent her last Christmas from France. It wasn’t a fancy porcelain one like he wanted to send her but it was sturdy and Hilde adored the cloth bodied doll as if it were a real baby.
“Well, I think the soup is almost ready. Shall Mama make some tea for our supper?”
Hilde clapped her chubby hands and giggled. “Ja! Ja, Mama!”
“Then tea we shall have, love. I just-”
Heavy footsteps from outside sounded near the window. Marta scooped up Hilde and blew out the candles on the table. Hilde’s smile disappeared as her mother tucked her between the bed and a stout trunk. “Not a sound, darling.”
The last thing Marta wanted was uninvited guests. A knock sounded. Marta took a deep breath. She prayed before opening the door. Lord, let it be Gunther.
Slowly, she pulled up on the latch and slid the door open a crack. She gasped.
And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed part one! Tune in next time for part two! And don’t forget to swing by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Happy Friday everyone and Merry Christmas! As the title suggests, I am going to introduce you to the 12 Days of Christmas Blog party, hosted by Faith Potts at Stories by Firefly! So basically, if you come back here every day through Christmas, you will see a brand new post! That’s right! A Christmas marathon of sorts! And that’s not all! By clicking the link here, you will go to 12 Days of Christmas headquarters where you can read even more posts by participating bloggers! And there’s a giveaway! I’ll go ahead and put it here so you can sign up.
There we go, now, on to a special devotion to kick things off!
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
King James Bible
We’ve all heard the saying “Jesus is the reason for the Season!” but the season isn’t the only reason for Jesus. Let’s take a look at some other reasons for Jesus…
Jesus is the Reason to Love. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12
Jesus is the Reason to Live. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Acts 17:28
Jesus is the Reason to Witness. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matthew 28:18-19
Jesus is the Reason to Give. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:29
Jesus is the Reason to Sing. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Hebrews 2:12
Jesus is the Reason to Hope. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Jesus is the Reason to Believe. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:9-11
Jesus is the Reason to Stand. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; Joshua 24:16
Jesus is the Reason to Speak. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5;27-29
Jesus is the Reason to Pray! And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27
JESUS is the REASON!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway and check out the rest of the fun @ Stories by Firefly!
Have a Blessed Day and Merry Christmas!
P.S. If you go to FBNradio.com, you can enjoy amazing Christmas Music and programing! Christmas Cantatas every weekday at 7:05 pm, 10:05 am on Saturdays and 9:05 pm on Sundays!
PS.S. Don't forget, through December 20th, I'm offering a free Coffee Cup Bookmark/gift tag with every purchase while supplies last! These are homemade by my younger sister and are so cute!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.