A cold December day in 1914 brought forth one of the most powerful moments in war history - peace.
During that cold winter, troops were aching for the warmth of their families during the Christmas season. They longed for the comfort of their homes and the presence of their loved ones. Instead, they found themselves hunkered down in cold, wet trenches.
But on Christmas, something spectacular happened – the fighting stopped.
An almost majestic sound of music filtered into those clammy trenches. Both sides lowered their rifles and heard the carol “Silent Night” or “Stille Nacht” resounding throughout the western front. Suddenly, enemies who didn’t speak the same language and were tasked with killing the opposing side, stood silent at the sound of peace.
A little unsure how to react, the British looked up to see Germans boosting signs into the air rumored to say, “You no shoot, we no shoot.”
And, as history proclaims, neither side shot.
Instead, they celebrated a night of heavenly peace, enjoying each other’s company. They then began playing soccer, gifting what they could, and understanding the power of the silent night.
During December, I had the opportunity to travel to Wales and share the gospel through singing Christmas carols. I’m ashamed to say, but until our hosts mentioned this powerful story, I never knew such a truce existed. As we sang carols, I became overwhelmed at the emotions of others as they listened to the songs telling of Christ's birth. But after I heard of the Christmas Truce, there became a powerful new meaning to “Silent Night.”
The lyrics read:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother, Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Peace during a war is a strange thought. But the peace we seek during our daily lives is often harder to find. We are faced with battles of stress, financial issues, illness, and/or relationship problems. Most days, it feels like we’re stuck in the trench without hope.
But as we sang the words of "Silent Night," I remembered that not in a trench, but in a manger, a heavenly babe laid sleeping so you and I could face our battles with Him by our side.
As we go forth into 2020, it can be either exciting or terrifying. As we look at headlines, the nation, or even our families, it’s hard to understand how we could find a moment of peace, let alone get out of the mess we’re already in! Instead of looking to the One who can provide a silent night in the trench, we’re too focused on the bullets whizzing over our heads.
Unfortunately, the war picked up the next day and the newly made friends were back to fighting for their home teams. But for those Christmas hours, peace reigned.
During 2020, don’t take your blessings for granted to fight your way out of the pit. Stop and listen to His voice in the middle of the war. In Him, we’ll find our silent nights and the strength to press on through the toughest battle.
Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79).