December 24th, 1864. Bay City, Michigan. Emil Baur to Baker and Henrici
Dec. 24th, 1864.
Mess. Baker and Henrici,
Tonight I am sitting all alone in the room of a poor tailor, with whom I usually stay since he is a Christian. I’ve just come from the English Methodist Church, where I went to celebrate the festival of Christ; however, I quickly left since the brass band- which played a good deal of dances, was not uplifting. My Lord, what a contrast to the choir of angels who blessed the shepherds of Bethlehem’s fields with “Praise be to God in the Highest, praise on earth and goodwill to men.”
How we have gone astray, how far we are from the pure joys of Christmas Day. It is still Christmas Eve for my loved ones back home and I, a poor sinner, am banished to the unknown because of business necessities for the Colony. Tears in solitude are my Christmas gifts.
You and your loved ones are also surrounded by the Light of the Star of Bethlehem. How many thousands who lost their loved ones in the war are staring into the silent, dark night if they will also be discovered by that eternal splendor because of their tear-filled eyes.
O how deeply, how very deeply, this land has turned! Yet there are still enough reasons to thank the Holy and Pious Christ; since if He had not come we would all be as Sodom and Gomorrah.
I cannot avoid humbly asking you again for a good message on Christmas Eve. Once again 300,000, under which some of our own have also fallen and for whose families we are now responsible. For those who stayed behind our poor county cannot do much. I entrust these souls to your heart.
Please forgive my intensity and admonish me also to stand strong in the Lord, who hears even the cries of the raven. May He grant us all the power of the Light and vitality and may He give us the power to heal us, weak Colonists.
In grateful memory of proven love,
I am your loyal,
German Christian Agricultural and Benevolent Society of Ora Labora records, 1862-1895. – Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor