The Christmas Truce
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2:14
10 “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
11 “The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
On June 28, 1914, World War I began. The Western Front, consisted of trenches that stretched 450 miles from the English Channel to the Swiss Alps. Between the warring trenches was no man’s land. Vast numbers of soldiers fell and remained where they were shot between the trenches.
The sounds and stench of war permeated the air. As Christmas approached in December of 1914, the guns and cannons fell silent. On Christmas Eve, suddenly, unexpectedly, almost magically lit candles were placed atop the German trenches. They were soon joined by men holding tiny Christmas trees with lit candles.
A new sound lofted through the air. It was not the sound of war. It was the sound of singing. The melody was very familiar, but the words were being sung in German. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht drifted out over the killing zone. The English recognized melody and answered back in song, Silent Night, Holy Night.
Suddenly, unarmed German soldiers came out of their trenches and walked guardedly towards the British lines. Almost simultaneously, the British soldiers did likewise. “Merry Christmas” punctuated the cold dark night, followed by the words, “We won’t shoot if you don’t.” Cautiously, troops from both sides made their way forward and began to shake hands and exchange greetings. The soldiers traded plum puddings for cigars, swapped stories and souvenirs, reminisced about home, buried their dead and even played a bit of soccer.
On this amazing night, this magical night, their shared faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brought Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men for a few hours. This became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.
After Christmas, the war began anew. Friends were once again enemies.
The Father seeks a permanent and eternal truce for all. It is His desire that all animosity and warfare cease. But only His children have laid down their arms.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Lord Jesus Christ came to establish permanent peace between people and within people. He offered peace, a special peace, personal peace with God. The peace of God, His quiet, calm, restful, tranquil character is now accessible for each person who would become His child.
Father thank You for making peace possible. Thank You that for inviting me to lay down my arms and be at peace with You.
A magnificent promise was made by the prophet Isaiah that one day a powerful monarch would enter the realm of mankind and reign in peace rather than in authoritarian domination.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The promised Messiah, the Son of God, would come as a child born to the Nation of Israel. He would come as the embodiment of peace itself. He would rule as the Prince of Peace.
His kingdom would be unique, a kingdom of peace. This coming ruler would establish peace and reign in peace. He would usher in a time of peace on earth and goodwill to men. He would provide peace between individuals and nations. He would provide personal peace within the heart of each of His subjects. He would make it possible for peace to exist between the Father and mankind.
His reign would be marked not by intimidation and force, but rather gentle persuasion. He would rule over people “by sweetly and powerfully influencing their hearts by his grace: not governing them against their wills, but powerfully inclining their wills” (Ortlund and Hughes).
The promised Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ did far more than declare a truce between the Father and the human race. He procured and made possible the establishment of permanent peace and reconciliation.
Most of us, when we search deep within our hearts, will stumble across anger, hostility, resentment, belligerence and warfare lurking there. Why? Because, before we become His children, we are His enemies. A state of war exists between us and God. When we are adopted into the Father’s forever family, all warfare and enmity vanish. A state of permanent peace is established. This is true for each of the Father’s children.
But this is not merely a confident hope for the future. We do not have to wait until we enter into His presence.
When our adoption was finalized, we are no longer merely called the children of God, we are the children of God. Peace with God and the peace of God become our present possession. They are His Christmas gifts to us. We can now experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand (Philippians 4:7).