Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 1:78-79 – Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (KJV)
Recently, I watched a World War I film entitled Joyeux Noel, inspired by an unusual and true story which took place in 1914 on Christmas Eve. This film depicts the miraculous events which caused the two opposing sides to lay down their arms to honour the birth of Christ and come together in a spirit of peace. After French, German, and Scottish lieutenants organized an unofficial ceasefire, enemies soon became friends; they sang Christmas songs, dined together, and even held a worship service in the middle of no man's land between the bloody, stinky, rat-infested trenches of war. Later, these soldiers were reprimanded by their superiors for their joyful activities. However, this experience had a lasting effect upon the hearts of many who served in the aftermath of that war.
Contemplating the amazing events of this Christmas story so long ago, I am reminded of another time, still yet to come, when the Messiah will reign in His kingdom:
Isaiah 2:4 – He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (NIV)
Consequently, when this event takes place, the ceasefire will be permanent, and the entire world will finally be at peace.
In the meantime, we can expect that there will always be wars. In addition, the same causes leading to conflicts in war, howbeit on a smaller scale, can also lead to personal strife:
James 4:1 – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? (NIV)
Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)
Since the Scripture admonishes Christians to live peaceably with everyone, what might our part be in becoming more involved in peacemaking? How might we reach out during the Christmas season to someone with whom we have been at odds, in the spirit of "peace on earth"?
As we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us consider the first Christmas message proclaimed by the holy angels:
Luke 2:14 – Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests. (NIV)
During this Christmas season, let us be filled anew with the presence of Christ, who will always "guide our feet into the way of peace" — a peace that transcends all human understanding.
Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge that without You, there can be no lasting peace in this world. Yet, for those who believe, You have provided Your peace regardless of our circumstances. During this joyful season, reveal Yourself to those who are living in the shadow of death, and let the light of Your eternal presence shine upon them. Teach us Your ways for us to do our part to share the gospel of peace with those who are hurting. Bless our fellowship together as we worship You, not only at Christmastime but also throughout the coming new year. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.