Something amazing happened on December 24, 1914.
Battle-hardened soldiers began to crawl out of their trenches in Belgium and met on the land that hours before was a battlefield. German warriors began singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night) and the Scottish troops responded with English Christmas Carols. By the end of the night, the combatants were engaged in a new conflict: a soccer match with each other in what had been known as “No Man’s Land” – the field between the trenches.
Soldiers met together to pray, exchange cards, and enjoy Red Cross supply packages with little bits of chocolate and goodies from home. They worked together to collect the dead and give them an honorable burial. The men read aloud the words of Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd…
Sadly, this peace was short-lived. Within days these men were back to the routine of war where violence and death reigned supreme, but none of them ever forgot that day of peace.
When Jesus was born the shout of the heavenly host was, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:114 ESV) Isaiah 9:6 prophesies this Savior, a Prince of Peace who will reign for us forever. It’s not surprising that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that peacemakers will be blessed.
There certainly is conflict, unrest, and violence on earth. Jesus didn’t promise to rid the world of uncertainty, but He did come bringing peace to the hearts of those whose trust is in Him.
St. Francis of Assisi is said to have written this prayer in the 13th Century: Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
As God’s people, may this always be our prayer!