Christmas, What Now?

“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10

World War I ravaged the European continent, leaving destruction and debris everywhere. The human cost, well into the millions, was staggering. The western front, after just a few months into the war, was a desperate scene of devastation.

It was Christmas Eve, 1914, and as darkness settled over the front lines like a blanket, the sound of exploding shells and gunfire started to fade into the distance. All of the sudden, Christmas carols in French and English voices on one side and in German voices on the other side could be heard. Before long, enemies were literally standing together in what is called “no man’s land” celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace!

The Times of London reported on the events of the “Christmas Truce” desperate to spread some good news throughout Europe! One German soldier wrote in his diary, “The English brought a soccer ball from the trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. Thus Christmas, the celebration of love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.”

But sadly, by the next day, bullets were flying through the air and the smell of death filled the air again. What happened? Both sides lacked the staying power of peace because man alone cannot produce peace permanently. If we are looking for permanent and penetrating peace, we must look beyond the gift-giving, and the get-togethers, and look to a manger where the Prince of Peace, God in the flesh, was born.

Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds represent all of us. We are all poor in spirit and living in stress. Some of us are better than others at camouflaging it. Humanity needs the promise bound up in the birth of that baby.

Jesus, the Son of God, Immanuel, offers all of us the presence of His peace. Just think about this, the Apostle Paul writes that this infant "created all things." This means that Jesus created the ingredients for His cradle, and the ingredients for His cross so He could create the most amazing ingredient of salvation – peace!

About a hundred years before the “Christmas Truce”, Napoleon and his bloody and brutal conquest had just ended, when a hopeful pastor went for a walk on a quiet winter night. The peacefulness that settled over the German town inspired him to write the most popular Christmas carol ever sung and translated into 300 languages. The song, Silent Night, has a line in it that can break up the wrestlessness in our hearts and speak to the anxiousness that dominates our minds. We miss the beauty of the first line because too many times we are in a hurry to get to the last line of the song, “Christ the Savior is born.”

Don’t miss this closing truth! The line, “Silent night, Holy night” is powerful because it was in the calmness and the holiness of that first night when God brought lasting peace to our world. If we miss the power of the first line in the song, we miss the person in the last line of the song!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Pastor Dave

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