“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 | ESV
We have all heard the classic Christmas stories. A Christmas Carol. The Nutcracker. The Night Before Christmas.
Of course, all these stories fall short in comparison to the true story of Christmas, when Jesus entered the world as a human child, the earth trembling with the promise of what was to come.
There are some stories, however, that are not nearly as well known. One that comes quickly to mind, but is one of my favorites, is the story of the Christmas Truce, which happened in 1914. British soldiers overheard German soldiers across the battlefield singing “Silent Night” in German, which was utterly unexpected in the middle of the First World War. The British soldiers responded in kind by singing the same carol in English, and by the grace of God, the men rose up from their trenches, crossed the frozen wasteland between them, and set aside their orders for the night. They exchanged small gifts like chocolates and plum puddings, and they even formed teams and played soccer together.
It was a miracle, one that only God could have ordained. It was a brief moment, as the war resumed within the week, and the same sort of truce was never revisited, but it still shines as a bright moment in history, and in the hearts of the men that experienced it, as a beautiful representation of peace that was clearly possible, even in the midst of such terrible circumstances.
We may not be in the middle of an actual war, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t fighting spiritual ones in our lives. Just because it is Christmas time, a time when the world around us tells us that we can’t possibly be sad, or troubled, or not particularly “jolly”, it doesn’t mean that we are immune from struggles and trials in our lives. As I look at my life, I am saddened by the truth that some very close friends and fellow leaders in our church have decided to leave, which has upset a delicate balance within our ministry. Worried may be a weak word for how we are feeling.
The truth is, however, that God is still present, even in the midst of the wars of our lives. In those moments where we might feel as if all is lost, as if we are fighting alone, and the enemy is standing before us with nothing but the intent to harm us, we can see that God will show up. He will come through for us, and He has not abandoned us. This miraculous story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is a wonderful, vivid reminder that God will make all things right and good and new once again. He can stop a war right in the middle…and it was all because of a song that everyone knew. A song about our Lord, no less.
We must trust Him and His ways, and perhaps even more importantly, His timing. It may seem like His silence is never ending, but He isn’t surprised or bothered by our circumstances, because He knows precisely how He will work it all out. We will see His grace, and the work of His hand…even in the midst of our battlefields.