By Debra Whittington
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is almost past as the year winds down. By the time you read this, most of the preparations for Christmas will be through. However for some, Christmas continues on.
I shared once that I believe Christmas is a 365-day a year thing. I constantly praise God for the incredible gift he gave to all of us. That tiny baby born over 2000 years ago is the gift of all ages that keeps on giving and giving and will eventually bring true peace to this world.
While people wish others peace on earth this time of year, the opposite is true throughout most of the world. So many soldiers are in Iraq and Afghanistan or in various remote places far from their families. Even in some families there is conflict as quarrels with one another continue throughout Christmas with no peace in sight.
I came across a reference to a Christmas miracle that occurred in 1914 during World War I. The war was raging on in its early days and as Christmas drew near the generals and other high-ranking officers were warm and secure in chateaus while the average soldier was struggling to stay alive in the muck and mire of the cold trenches.
On Christmas Eve that year, the British heard German voices singing Christmas carols. They didn’t understand the words, but they certainly understood the melody. Then a small Christmas tree appeared out of the German trenches, some only a few yards away. Many British soldiers began to join in singing the carols until the sweet voices filled the night absent of gunfire.
The next day soldiers from both sides began coming out of the trenches and met in the middle of what was known as “no man’s land”. Some were there to bury the dead while others from both sides exchanged gifts and showed pictures of their family. A soccer ball mysteriously appeared and a game between British and other allied soldiers and the Germans got underway.
This truce continued throughout the day and in many areas through the following day. It continued until officers on both sides heard about what was happening and decided to call a halt to fraternizing with the enemy. The troops returned to their trenches and half-hearted three shots were fired in the air. Eventually the gunfire returned to what it was before Christmas.
During that truce, the true meaning of Christmas was observed on both sides. They were ordinary soldiers who were doing what they were told by their superiors. However, it was evident that they too wanted that peace that came on that night in Bethlehem long ago.
On this Christmas, take time to make peace with those things in your life you are at war with. Put aside malice towards those things that rob you of perfect peace. This Christmas, call a truce on anything that interferes with you experiencing a Christmas full of peace, goodwill toward men.