Peter's father was a minister, so Peter grew up in a home where his father led the family in lengthy prayers and Bible study every evening. On Saturday evenings, his father had to spend all his time preparing for his Sunday sermon. So he assigned his children the task of memorizing long passages from the Scriptures. Peter said he hated those Saturday nights; they were tedious and difficult for a small boy who surely would have preferred fun and diversion on Saturday nights.
Well, Peter grew up and joined the Army to fight in World War II. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle of World War II. The Americans had more soldiers on that European battlefield than were at Gettysburg. The Battle of the Bulge went on from December 16, 1944 all through the Christmas season to January 15. It was the coldest, snowiest winter in anybody's memory. In this Battle of the Bulge, 19,000 American soldiers were killed and we suffered 81,000 casualties. Maybe you can imagine what it was like for Peter and a half dozen other GIs, huddled together for warmth in a bitter cold, dark foxhole on the German front that Christmas Eve.
One of the soldiers asked if anybody could say a prayer. Peter then recited from memory the entire beautiful, inspiring story of the Birth of Christ from the Gospel of St. Luke, giving hope and comfort to those lonely, scared but brave American soldiers. Peter thanked his father many times over for preparing him for that most critical day of his life. It was really a Christmas night to remember.
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