Scripture Reading: Numbers 5:11-6:27 / Luke 1:1-20 / Proverbs 7:6-20
The Christmas Truce of 1914 spun a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front during WWI. Though there was no official truce, about 100,000 British and German troops participated. The truce started on Christmas Eve when German troops decorated the area around their trenches with candles, Christmas trees and celebrated by singing Christmas carols.
The British troops responded by singing carols as well and then they began shouting to each other…not hostilities but Christmas greetings. What happened next was unthinkable. Troops began to cross “no man’s land”, giving small gifts to one another and exchanging food, tobacco, buttons and hats. They even played soccer with one another in the mud and the shell hole filled “no man’s land”.
The artillery was silent that night, fallen soldiers were retrieved, taken behind their lines for burial and even joint burial services were held. On some parts of the German/British front, the truce continued until New Year’s Day. The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity in one of the most violent events of modern history. What about peace? Since 3600 B.C., the world has known only 292 years of peace and an excess of 8,000 peace treaties have been made…and broken. There have been 14,351, large and small wars with 3.64 billion deaths.
What is the answer for peace? “No Jesus, No Peace…Know Jesus, Know Peace!” Jesus came to bring unreserved, powerful and everlasting peace. The angels told the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) Isaiah prophesied the coming Prince of Peace. (Is. 9:6)
Man has been in pursuit of peace ever since the beginning of time. He has pursued peace thinking that through war, peace would be attained. Man has also tried politics, compromise, negotiations, humanitarianism and even surrender as a means for peace. Man’s plans and ways are futile and will never bring lasting peace.
The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom”. This is a rich word describing wholeness or completeness. In the Greek, “Eirene” means “untroubled, undisturbed well-being” and implies an inner tranquility and poise. Jesus came to give us peace with God (restoration), peace within (renewal) and peace with man (reconciliation). It is not manufactured by the world but designed by a loving and compassionate God.
The crew of Apollo 11 placed a plague on the moon as they landed on the Sea of Tranquility, “We come in peace for all mankind.” Armstrong and Aldrin found a tranquil and peaceful scene on the moon…where no man had been before. Unlike a peaceful declaration on a moon where man had never been…peace for mankind didn’t come for where man had not been but where they had been. God came into man’s world of sin…The Son of God came as the Prince of Peace to give us Peace!