Scripture Reading: Micah 4:1-7, Psalm 46:4-11, Isaiah 53:4-12
It was December 1914, and World War I was just beginning to shake the globe to its core. Both Allied and German forces had already dug and settled into their frozen trenches on the Western Front—their circumstances and surroundings were fraught with anything but “peace on earth” and “goodwill toward men.”
Yet, on Christmas Day, as the sun rose on the battlefield, hope rose with it. A few brave German soldiers crested the trenches they’d fought from hours earlier and crossed into enemy territory shouting Christmas greetings. In response, British and German soldiers met in “No Man’s Land.” They shook hands, sang Christmas carols, played soccer, and exchanged small gifts of comfort. An unofficial Christmas truce declared, weapons were temporarily laid down, symbolically traded in for goodwill and human dignity. As the sun set on Christmas night, soldiers retreated back to their trenches and the horrific fighting continued. It was a wonder not been repeated in any conflict since.
Though WWI officially ended four years after that Christmas miracle, the battle wages on. Geopolitical conflict is a constant. Threats are never ending. Wars rage in our hearts, in our homes, and around the globe. Because of this, the words of the prophet Micah feel like a fairytale—sweet but out of reach:
They will beat their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nation will not take up the sword against nation,
and they will never again train for war.
But each person will sit under his grapevine
and under his fig tree
with no one to frighten him.
- Micah 4:3-4
When those first soldiers started singing in 1914, the others must have thought it was a trick. They couldn’t fathom an end to the fighting, even for a single day. As we sit in the trenches, we feel the same jaded weariness. We cannot imagine an end to the suffering, the wars, the death, and the heartache. Yet, I am confident that as soldiers looked across the battlefield that Christmas, they didn’t want to see carnage. Neither do we. At least for a moment, we want to forget the war and consider all that is merry and bright.
These dueling mindsets—our hopelessness that the fighting will end and our longing to lay our weapons down all together—are reconciled through Christ. There is only joy for the world because of the war Jesus fought and won on our behalf.
For a moment, don’t look away. Don’t search for something warm and fuzzy. Listen closely.
But he was pierced because of our rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him,
and we are healed by his wounds.
- Isaiah 53:5
At the cross, Jesus entered the war to end all wars. His was not a quiet sit-in or a peaceful protest. It was a battle to the death. Like a soldier who goes to war for the good of his country, Jesus surrendered Himself, warred against sin, and won.
The ceasefire promised in Scripture is not a fairytale. It’s not a bedtime story incapable of granting us more than temporary comfort. The peace treaty has been signed in blood, secured by the Savior who arrived as a baby in a manger. This war will not rage forever. Because of Jesus, one day there will be no more enemy lines to cross.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.