Just today, I read a story about Christmas Eve 1914 during World War I where a brief and unofficial truce happened between the German and British soldiers on Flanders Field in Belgium. It began when the Germans began singing Silent Night and the British answered with a British carol. Each side continued singing to each other and eventually exchanged small gifts. The truce held through Christmas while the British were able to have a Christmas service. This was such a beautiful and unexpected gift of peace in the middle of what was one of the deadliest wars in world history. And even though the peace was not a political peace, it was a peace that the soldiers were able to enjoy each other and celebrate Christ's birth. The reality of Christ's birth brought an unexpected peace and joy for the soldiers.
When Christ came to Earth, the Jews were living during a politically stressful time under the Roman Empire. They were sure that the coming Messiah would return political peace and free them from the Roman rule. That was not the kind of peace that Christ would bring. Romans 5:1 tells us, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." This peace is a much greater prize than what any government could ever offer; a peace with God! When things are not going well, it is difficult to remember that we have a gift from Christ that surpasses anything. I guess when we look at our problems here in comparison to the hope that God gives us through Christ, we can experience joy as well.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, remember the true gift of peace that we have with God.