Peace on Earth?

Peace – just for a day

Could we not declare this year’s Christmas Day a Global Day of Peace? Just imagine all the wars to stop, all the guns to go silent, no suicide attacks, no fear of terrorism, no family feuds, no arguments. Simply – peace. Just for one day.

An amazing war story

Thousands of soldiers must have wished the same for Christmas 1914 when they were trapped in the trenches on the Western Front in Belgium only four months into World War I. The deadly rattle of machine guns were dashing any hopes for a peaceful holiday. But on Christmas Eve, the almost unbelievable happened: German soldiers put up hundreds of decorated Christmas trees above their trenches and broke the silence with a Christmas song. A British soldier recalls, “We thought that we ought to retaliate in some way, so we sang ‚The First Noël‘, and when we finished they struck up another favourite of theirs. And so it went on, until when we started up ‚O Come All Ye Faithful‘ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn. And I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing - two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.” They climbed out of their trenches from both sides, shook hands, and were laughing and chatting with those men they had tried to kill only a few hours before. Peace for a day – in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in history.

Before long, however, the air was again filled with gunshots and the smell of death. Peace was once more banned to the world of surreal dreams and empty hopes.

Why is there no peace?

When Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, was born into this world (by the way, this is why we celebrate Christmas!), some shepherds received these welcoming words by the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

However, has the world changed for the better ever since? What about centuries of war and conflict? And what about all the unresolved quarrels in families and nagging conflicts among neighbours? The problem of hatred and war obviously sits deep down in human nature – too deep to be resolved, unless we go to the very roots. This is exactly what the Bible does when it explains the basic cause for our lack of peace,

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour (Colossians 1:21).

Despite the immeasurable love God has shown to us, we have turned our backs on Him. Our mind is driven by rebellious thoughts against Him. We have taken our lives into our own hands. We have declared war against God. As a result, discontentment, jealousy and hatred have replaced peace in our hearts.

God has made peace

What is God doing about this? He is absolutely holy and just and cannot let our rebellion go unpunished. Every single hateful thought, every angry word and every violent action will be brought to justice. Nobody will stand a chance in this judgment. But God does not want us to be condemned and separated from Him forever! In His immense love He has found a way to bring peace back into our hearts. He sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to take the place of rebels and to be punished instead of them.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:22).

This is how God made peace. He offers to forgive our rebellion and sin because justice has been done. He longs to establish a loving relationship with us that fills our hearts with eternal peace. This is what God has done about our rebellion. – What have you done about it? Will you continue to live your own way, to make your decisions without God and to try and yet fail to be the master of your own destiny? Or will you surrender to God, ask for forgiveness and start a new life with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Then turn to Him now. If you do not know what to pray, you can use the following words:

Almighty God! I have lived my life in rebellion against you, doing things my own way. I am guilty before you and deserve eternal punishment. But I know that you love me because you have sent your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world to die for me. And in His name I ask you to forgive my sin, to give me a new life and to accept me as your own child. Amen.

The world might be far away from a peaceful Christmas this year. But you can have peace in your own heart. Not just for a day – forever!
What will you choose?

Matthias Roggli