Christmas truce (Part 1)
Think a minute...It’s known as the Christmas Truce of World War I. Five months after this global, bloody conflict broke out, at dawn on Christmas morning, the opposing German and Allied soldiers walked out of their trenches and approached each other across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native languages. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick; but then seeing the Germans unarmed, they climbed out of their ditches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang Christmas carols. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of football. What a beautiful, real-life story of “peace on earth, good will toward men.”
However, tragically the very next day these men went back to war and to killing each other as enemies. “Peace is that brief moment in history when everyone stops to reload.” We humans simply cannot create real, lasting peace. As a result, in World War I approximately 21.5 million lives were lost. Then more wars followed (i.e. World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, etc.), along with civil wars, coups and genocides of fellow countrymen in Russia, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Uganda, Bosnia, and others. In fact, in our modern, “enlightened” 20th century, about 160 million people were killed by their fellow humans. And our “advanced” 21st century has made no more progress either. Look at all of our human conflicts shown daily in our prejudice, injustice, abuse, neglect, violence, terror, slavery, etc. In fact, some sources say that there is more slavery in our world today than at any time in history. ”The human race has improved everything except the human race.”
Yet what’s most amazing is how shamelessly and sinfully proud we humans still are. “No amount of contrary evidence has changed man’s grand opinion of himself.” We are greatly bothered by the evil around us, but not by the evil inside us. We want God to save us from our suffering, but not from our sin that caused it.
This is why we don’t have real, lasting peace in our personal lives, families, neighborhoods and nations. The problem of our outer world comes from our inner world. As the writer Solzhenitsyn put it: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? “The heart of our problem is the problem of our heart.” Our real enemy is our self-centered will that clashes against everybody else’s self-centeredness. It also destroys our own peace within ourselves. As the great Augustine said: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.”
Our problem is our war against our Creator. Frank Sinatra’s song is our song. We all want to live and say, “I did it my way”—not our Maker’s way. But we “cut our nose off to spite our face” and only hurt ourselves. If you break the law of gravity, you only break yourself! So we’ve broken God’s loving laws for life (i.e. Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount, etc.) and only broken ourselves. Our world and lives are broken because we broke our relationship with our Creator. The English writer, C.S. Lewis, describes the result of our rebellion against our Maker: “Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history…poverty, [selfish] ambition, war, prostitution, classes, [oppressive] empires, slavery—the long terrible story of humanity trying to find something other than God which will make us happy.”
So won’t you finally make your Christmas truce with your loving Creator and Savior today? You can never have real, lasting peace until the Prince of Peace is ruling your heart. Incredibly, while we were still His enemies, God the Son died for our sinful rebellion against Him. He’s just waiting for you to freely surrender every area of your life to Him—so He can lead you into His abundant, true life He created you to enjoy with Him. Just think a minute…