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Posts Tagged ‘Joyeux Noel’

It’s Christmas – End the war!reason-for-the-season

It’s Christmas time! It is the celebration of Jesus birth. Just as it was about to take place, God had something to say…

Luk 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

Luk 2:14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (MKJV)

So often it isn’t peace among men, but war. There are bitter disputes in all places between all ages and all ethnicities. God sent Jesus to earth to end the hostility between God and Man.

Rom_5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

After this, as men became persuaded of this salvation, then they took on a new heart and a new way of relating to others. Now, through Jesus own command, His people must…

Luk 6:35  But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favours so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. (AMP)

Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (KJV)

There is a place for self defence. All that is precious must be protected. Thank God we have a police force and the courts system that brings justice, however flawed they are; without them we would have anarchy that would make life unliveable. However, beyond that, Jesus asks us as Christians Rom 12:18  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

One day a along time ago, men who had been at war with each other put down their weapons and gave one another gifts. These men were fighting in World War I and one night their feelings for their enemy changed and their actions were reversed and a complete change took over their lives.

What was the catalyst for this remarkable change? Christmas!

“Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front.[8] The first truce started on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium.[9]

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man’s Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. The fraternisation carried risks; some soldiers were shot by opposing forces. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in others it continued until New Year’s Day.[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce

Here’s a clip from a movie called “Joyeux Noel” that told the story of this remarkable ceasefire.  http://youtu.be/CW2mGdiu8Uk

These soldiers were trained to kill. They truly believed that it was their duty to kill men from the opposing army. If they could kill many enemies and get home alive; that was very good, but if not, they were prepared to lay down their lives for their country. If men engaged in a bloody warfare can be so changed by recognition of what Christmas is all about, then surely we can look at Christmas through God’s eyes and call an end to the war we have had with others.

Are there people in your family that you have been at war with? Have you been hostile in word or deed with anyone in your world? Think about the thoughts that go through your mind at times when you’re thinking of those who feel badly towards. Those unkind thoughts, those accusations, that feeling of revenge; the lack of kindly plans toward them; are all evidence of something that can and must change.

If these men in WWI can rethink to the extent that they forgot that they were enemies for just one night- then why cant you? Most likely you haven’t had a gun fired directly at you from your people; nor have you seen your best mates carried off in a body bag. For most of us, what we have endured has been some unkindness, some bad words, some persecution or theft. Has your pain been of the order of these soldiers?

And yet they left the hostility and laid down their arms and celebrated Christmas. The really sad part of this story is that when the truce was over, they went back to business as usual, and began shooting each other. But this is not how it must be. The peace you create with those you have been hostile towards can be a lasting peace. It doesn’t have to be Christmas cards at 50 paces for ever!

How could this tradition of Christmas be so powerful? The reason is Christmas speaks so eloquently of God’s love and His gift to us all. Jesus – unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Can we see ourselves as we really are? Can we see that our potential to hurt is the same as any other man; can we see that we have affronted God’s grace with our thoughts of evil? That we are as guilty of offence as any perpetrator is?  Can we see that we need the mercy of God to deliver to us this roughly gift wrapped package of forgiveness that was laid in a manger, for us, so undeserved and matched only by our need.

Thank God for Jesus – the reason for the season.

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