Peace On Earth (By Matt Vince)

Few things in life conjure feelings and memories like Christmas. That’s especially true for me: family, presents, and lots and lots of great food! I have difficulty coming up with any unpleasant memories around Christmas. I am blessed beyond words!
That’s not to say that my family is perfect or that we didn’t argue or face hardships in life. I am not naive to think this is the case for all. But at Christmas, those things didn’t matter. We gathered around something bigger – the fulfilled promise of our Savior’s birth!
In my mind, there are few things that capture the true power of this fact more than the Christmas Truce of 1914. If you’ve not heard of the Christmas Truce, let me give you a quick overview. On December 24 and 25 of 1914, months after the start of World War I, British and German troops up and down the front engaged in what many consider a Christmas miracle.
The facts are not all clear, but from what can be gathered from journal entries and letters home from soldiers, peace broke out among the war as solders, initially only on their own side of no-man’s-land, stopped fighting and started singing Christmas carols. First one side, then the other. In some locations, solders actually came out of their trenches, greeting one another with hesitant shouts of “Merry Christmas”. Some tell of men whom, only hours before were literally out to kill each other, now exchanged gifts, shared pictures of loved ones back home, and even took part in friendly games of soccer.
To say we live in divided times is easily an understatement. It seems one cannot say anything on any topic without starting debates and arguments: sports, politics, and religion. Families, friends, even complete strangers can be at each other’s throats in a matter of moments. Tensions and past issues seem to be especially able to ruin the holiday season as decade-old secrets are revealed, past hurts from dear friends are revisited, and new wounds are made from careless comments or misperceived intentions.
So my call to you, the individual reading this post, is that you would be the one to call a truce in this battle, whatever it is for you with whomever you’re fighting. Let the truth of the fulfilled promise of our Savior’s birth be the catalyst that causes peace to break out in your war. May our shared need of forgiveness of our own sins bring us together in grace and mercy. Upon announcing the birth of Jesus, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14 ESV, emphasis mine).
Of course, my ultimate prayer for you is that it would work out to be a permanent peace, not just a momentary truce. But be the one who makes the effort!

May the peace of our Savior, “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7b), be with you and yours this Christmas and beyond!