Peace on Earth
The angles sang, “Peace on earth, good will to all.” But how do we live with peace in a world where there seems to be none? The story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 gives the answer. Along 27 miles of trenches with enemy fire from several factions, a solitary German soldier on Christmas Eve day, dared to place a Christmas tree at the top of the parapet, put a candle on it, and light the candle. Before long a rich baritone German voice rang out, “Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!,” Silent Night, Holy Night. Then one lone soldier, hands raised, dared to emerge from his cold, wet, trench, and stand, waiting. The British thought it was a trap but soon a sign appeared from the Germans, “We no shoot. You no shoot.” Slowly men from all sides emerged to help each other bury their dead, care for the wounded, play soccer, share British plum pudding and German chocolate cake. For over 24 hours there was peace in the most unlikely of places. Why? Because one lone soldier dared to believe. Because another lone soldier dared to sing. Because one by one, men who were supposed to shoot each other to win, showed the world that peace was not so much about winning or losing but about serving, sharing, and trusting. Those who know the story will recall that when the men were ordered back to their trenches and commanded to shoot, they did as ordered, but the shots fired were over the heads of those called the enemy. In order to resume the fight, the soldiers who accomplished peace in the midst of war, had to be scattered. Scattered on a hillside over 2000 years ago, some shepherds heard the news of peace on earth, good will toward men. The news that a baby was born who would be Immanuel: God with Us, changed the world forever. Scattered shepherds, scattered soldiers, scattered believers all over the world, who dare to come over the parapet, raise the light of Christmas, Jesus is Lord, and sing a song of peace to those who are trapped in their individual wars, will bring peace on earth, good will to all, even in our lifetime. Merry Christmas, and peace on earth, good will to you!