Peace! This does not describe a single second of a single minute of an hour or a day of 2021. And, by the look of things we are not likely to remember the waning days of 2021 as a time of peace.
Christmas week 2021 or of any year should hold hope for peace. Perhaps one of the most memorable times of peace in the last hundred years or so was in 1914 during World War I or the Great War. French, German, and British soldiers left their trenches to greet opposing soldiers and to exchange food and memorabilia. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day soldiers held joint burial services and exchanged prisoners. Some even played games, while others recovered bodies of fellow soldiers. Peace!
It wasn’t planned. Peace came when soldiers weary from fighting, suffering and dying simply stopped. Peace descended on both sides until soldiers began moving into open spaces, no man’s land, without a shot being fired.
The human spirit can take only so much pain, sorrow, stress, and grief before it gives in or gives up. Peace was what those soldiers longed for on both sides of the battlefield. It went far beyond politics or war, patriotism or zeal. Peace offered rest to exhale and to breathe in. Finally. Peace.
In the middle of unmitigated bloodshed 107 years ago during the holy days of Christmas week, combat soldiers stopped. Can we stop this week, too? How weary do we need to be to want peace? How tired do we need to be to just stop? How long must we wrestle with all the ills and wills to fight, never realizing we are the reason there is no peace?
There was no formal truce at Christmas in 1914, no negotiations, no agreements. The soldiers simply longed for and desired the same Peace. They gave up themselves to gain Peace.
We’ve come so far since then. We’ve fought major wars all over the globe with innumerable battles that have scarred humanity for generations. We now have the means to control the whole earth with threats of mutual annihilation. Oh, how far we’ve come in the last hundred years! Not one second of Peace in 2021.
We don’t have Peace, but we always have time to take or to make. It’s our choice. How much do any of us truly value Peace? What would we give, what would we sacrifice, how far would we go for Peace? Can we stop for one day for Peace?
The following year Peace did not come as easily at Christmas. Commanders on all sides had warned troops not to give in. In 1916, troops were so battle hardened no one sought Peace. Peace can conquer war, but war will always fight to the bitter end against Peace.
Two thousand or so years ago Peace descended and angels sang glorifying God for giving His Peace to all people. The Prince of Peace was born in relative obscurity. God in human flesh, full and brimming over with grace and truth! Many saw and believed and glorified God for His indescribable gift! Those who saw and believed stopped. Peace overwhelmed them.
May God’s Peace overwhelm us all during this year’s Christmas week. Let’s stop whatever we’re doing. Just stop! God, give us Your Peace this year.
by Daniel Gardner, Special to the Gazette
on January 19, 2022, 10:17 am