The Christmas truce of 1914 supposedly transpired this way: British soldiers in their trenches would be greeted by enemy Germans calling out “Merry Christmas,” before exposing themselves, unarmed. There are reports of soldiers exchanging gifts — cigarettes, buttons, plum pudding — and an impromptu football match held on No Man’s Land, the space between two opposing enemy lines. One can imagine a private wondering if this first world war, and the wars that might come after, could be replaced with a friendly kickabout.
A miracle is typically described as a divine act that goes against the laws of nature. Many continue to debate what constitutes a violation of the ordered world, so the term “Christmas miracle,” which carries a sort of seasonal exclusivity, is more peculiar. As if there is something about the weeks that lead to Dec. 25 that further pronounces our capacity for goodness.