It was December 24, 1914. It has now been months since Europe was engulfed in the deadliest conflict in modern history to date.
Though the Germans had made a strong offensive into France, the French, Belgian, and British forces were able to halt them. But they were not able to push the Germans out of France and a stalemate developed as both sides dug into the earth creating a large network of trenches.
As I read historical accounts of this stalemate I was shocked by the misery these soldiers were enduring under the fog of war. Heavy rain water, mixed with blood and dirt in these trenches was as inescapable as the fear of death itself.
But something amazing happened on Christmas Eve 1914. Under the deep darkness of war created by human depravity and demonic influence, the message of the Gospel broke through in a brief but memorable miracle of modern warfare.
In a well documented event, across many portions of the front lines fighting ceased as British and German soldiers came out of the trenches in the ‘no man’s land,’ congregated, sang carols and even exchanged food items. This lasted several days to the dismay of upper levels of command.
The Christmas Truce was evidence that the message of the Gospel is embodied in the message of Christmas. War, conflict, and hate cannot quench it. It shines through as a beacon of hope.
Even though the world cannot achieve “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:7, the world longs for it. Secular as well as pagan preach it without being able to attain it. This peace is given to those who belong to God, those who have been renewed by the Holy Spirit, and those who have accepted the message of Christmas as truth:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14
A glimmer of hope on Christmas Eve, 1914 was brought on by remembering the birth of Jesus, and it stood out as an example how the message of the Gospel can bring peace into the world. But unfortunately over 70 million were killed in the two World Wars because the hearts of men were darkened by the evil in them due to their unbelief and rejection of this Gospel.
But as Christians we rejoice because God “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6) and the peace we received is not a just a temporary Christmas Truce, but the evidence of our eternal salvation.
Christ was born! Merry Christmas!