The sound of rifle fire suddenly ceased. The crackling of exploding shells eerily ended. German and Allied troops emerged from their war-torn trenches in a voluntary truce on Christmas Day, 1914. The “Christmas Truce,” as it is known, was an unplanned and unofficial ceasefire. Instead of fighting, the two sides exchanged cigarettes, plum pudding, and sang Christmas carols. It was an unusual day of peace amid the conflict of World War I.
A German lieutenant later recalled, “How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.” That is the power of Christmas—it creates peace between enemies. I would bet that the angel who announced the news of Christ’s birth would agree. After all, he proclaimed that there would be peace on earth because of Christ’s advent: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
We are at war with God when we come into the world as unsaved sinners. We are enemies of God and of the cross (Romans 5:10; Philippians 3:18). But because of Christmas and Calvary, we can experience heavenly peace with God. Jesus came to establish an eternal ceasefire. As Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
We may also enjoy inward peace because of what Christ has done. Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). God the Father grants heart-peace to His children when they bring their requests to Him—and the work of Christ makes it possible (John 1:12).
The bells of Christmas Day are ringing the song of peace. The old conflict between God and man has ceased for those who know the Christ-child as their Lord and Savior. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, written by Henry W. Longfellow, aptly says:
“And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).