Finding Lasting Peace this Christmas
In 2005, a movie came out entitled “Joyeux Noel” which presented one of the most amazing stories that came out of World War 1. This war left a continent totally devastated and the cost of human lives went well into the millions. But, from the midst of this bloodiest war at that time in human history, came a story of a Christmas truce that took place in December 2014. The Western Front, where this story comes from, was a deplorable scene of devastation and it was only a few months into the war. As the sun set on Christmas eve, the sound of gun fire and exploding shells faded away in the darkness and the faint singing of carols could be heard, French and English voices on one side and German voices on the other. Slowly the volume increased and broke the silence of the night. This led to an informal and unauthorised truce where soldiers on both sides met each other on no man’s land to share the precious moment of Christmas.
Whilst this truce of 1914 was memorable, it lacked permanence. Soon the Christmas celebration subsided and the soldiers went back into the trenches and the war continued. A few decades later, Europe became a battle field once again during World War 2. Even today the world does not know lasting peace. The peace this world gives is only temporary like the truce of 1914.
To find lasting peace we must look to no other place than the manger, where we find God’s gift to us that would bring lasting peace – a lasting reconciliation in our relationship with God and a lasting relationship with the people around us. This baby, born in a manger, would one day become the Saviour of the world, the Prince of Peace, the only hope for this world to find lasting peace. This helpless baby was Immanuel, which is translated “God with us” because this baby was God coming in the flesh, to sacrifice His life so that helpless humanity can find lasting hope and peace.
As we celebrate Christmas, this prayer of Robert Louis Stevenson is my prayer for you and your family:
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.