Things couldn’t be darker in those cold December days of 1914.
Five months had passed since Europe had rushed head-first into war. The frightful toll of casualties had already reached 800,000 dead and wounded. Millions more would join the ranks of the maimed and dead.
The huge war machines of Germany and France were slugging it out, toe-to-toe, just 50 miles from Paris. Already, the Germans, French, and British alike were heart-sick from war. And the approaching holidays only promised to trigger more unbridled bloodshed and killing.
But something strange happened on that Christmas Eve in 1914. Much to the outrage of their high command, British soldiers raised “Merry Christmas” signs above their trenches. They were wishing “goodwill” to the enemy. The Germans responded with an outburst of Christmas carols. The French and British echoed back with carols of their own. The feelings of brotherly love and goodwill seemed to get out of hand. Against the protests and direct orders of their officers, both German and British soldiers left their trenches.
They greeted each other with Christmas songs and exchanged gifts. At some spots along the Western Front, soldiers from opposing sides played games of soccer together. That day on the bloody plain called “No Man’s Land” in war-torn France, the Prince of Peace reigned supreme. Even the next day, this spontaneous truce could not be overturned. Neither side seemed willing to fire the first shot.
Only when fresh troops arrived and high command threatened punishment did the war resume.
How profound that even mankind’s professional killers were softened by the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet the Bible promises that one day Christ, the Prince of Peace, will return to earth to establish His Kingdom (Rev. 19:11–20:6). On that glorious day, peace will cover the planet. The prophets foretell that the lion will lay down with the lamb, swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, and no longer will men learn war (Isa. 2:1–4; 11:1–9; Mic. 4:1–4).
But the peace of Christ can always begin in our own hearts, families, and workplaces. Scripture tells us that the Prince of Peace knocks at the door of each heart (Rev. 3:20) seeking to still the storms that rage within us and melt away the hatred that consumes us (Ps. 65:7; 89:9; 107:29; Matthew 8:24–27).
Pray for world peace. But seek peace within your own soul by allowing the Prince of Peace to come in and sit upon the throne of your heart. Let his reign of peace begin in your life today.
Dear Lord, please forgive my sins and failures. Please, dear Prince of Peace, be enthroned in my life and bring peace to my war-torn heart. Amen.