On Christmas Eve 1914, during the First World War, the guns fell silent along a 30-mile stretch of the Western Front. Soldiers peered cautiously over the tops of trenches while a few emerged to repair their positions and bury the dead. As darkness fell, some German troops set out lanterns and sang Christmas carols. Men on the British side applauded and shouted greetings.
The next day, German, French, and British troops met in no man’s land to shake hands, share food, and exchange gifts. It was a brief respite from war that soon ended when the artillery and machine guns roared to life again. But no one who experienced “The Christmas Truce,” as it became known, would ever forget how it felt and how it fueled their longing for lasting peace.
Ironically as I was driving home on Christmas Eve 2014, exactly 100 years later to the day, I dreamed of a truce. I had a friend suffering the last stages of cancer. I had been visiting the sick, shut-in and lonely all day and that weighted heavy on my mind. I thought LORD, I wish I had the power to declare a three day truce: no suffering, no dying, no hungry children, no war, no violence, just peace on earth and good will toward men for three days.
In Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming Messiah we read, “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). By His death on the cross, Jesus removed the “no man’s land” between us and God. “For He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). I thank God for the peace we have with Him through the blood of Christ but I long for peace on earth.
In Jesus we can find lasting peace with God and harmony with each other. This is the life-changing message of Christmas!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!” —Wesley
Only in Christ can true peace be realized. Only when He returns at KING of king and LORD of lords will we realize the peace on earth we dream of. In the meantime, we keep dreaming and praying for the peace of Jerusalem and for peace on earth.