Skip to main content

Christmas Peace in the Trenches

It’s Thursday,  Day 26 in the Fourth Week of Advent.  The Christmas Story is remarkable for the Angelic proclamations.

Luke 2:8-14
8  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

The words they proclaimed – “Glory to God in the highest”... because the miracle of the Incarnation is in God who sends his only Son into the world to “be with us”.  It is God who deserves Glory, honor, praise for the wonderful plan to redeem a lost world.  The last part of that sentence reminds us of the results of this plan.  “On earth peace to men on whom his favor rests”...which reminds us that Jesus’ life is peace for all who receive him.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this that has ever occurred happened in World War 1 in the trenches of Europe between the German and English, French and Belgian soldiers at the front lines in 1914.

As Christmas Eve day came, the Germans placed candles on their trenches and Christmas trees, and then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man's Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent.
Joint services were held. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, continuing until New Year's Day in others.  Unfortunately it didn’t last.  Soon the fighting continued.  Yet for a brief time – at Christmas -  the time of Advent brought those who fought against each other to a place of peace.

We live in a world today where once again we long for peace.  It seems so elusive and perhaps we will never see the end of national hostilities as long as the Prince of Peace does not rule the earth.   Yet we need to understand that “Peace”, Biblical Peace from God, is not simply the absence of hostilities.  Peace is not when we stop arguing, or when we walk away without fighting. 
Peace is when Jesus Christ becomes the reason for our decisions, for our attitudes and actions.  Paul reminds the Galatians that the Fruit of the Spirit in us is “love, joy, peace...”  and he reminds us in Ephesians 2 that “He himself is our peace” (vs 14). 

In 1867, Phillip Brooks was on horseback riding in Israel from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.  As he rode closer to the city he heard choirs singing Christmas carols of faith, hope and love.  It inspired him and he sat down to write “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.  The second verse speaks of this peace:
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!


Peace 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Advent 2011 - Day 1

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to take time to "ponder" Jesus and the Incarnation.  It is not for "fast food" devotions; but rather, a time for "thinking" about all that God has done in sending his Son - Jesus, our Savior, to the world that ultimately would reject him!

Each day we'll read some scripture...then I'll share some thoughts on the passage and invite you to "comment", so that we can all gain from a wider community of God's people.  Please feel free to "comment" at the end of each post.

Finally there is an encouragement to pray, asking God to make the Word spoken more real in our hearts than we can ever gain from our intellect alone.

TODAY:  We read Isaiah 43:14, 18-21

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: … Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? … For I put water in the desert and r…

Wondering Out Under the Stars

A Reading:

Colossians 1:9-20 (NIV)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether th…

Advent Day 1, Waiting in Joyful Hope

Psalm 25:1-7
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame;let not my enemies exult over me.
3  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4  Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
5  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;for you I wait all the day long.
6  Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7  Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me,for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

Psalm 25:16-21
16  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Psalm 130:5
5  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;




The first of day of Advent has arrived.  The short season this year still involves waiting. I knew that from my childhood.  Advent came and we waited.  Anticipation was interrupted with pr…