Peace and Joy
Friday - December 10th
Scripture to Read Today: Matthew 2:1-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
War has a way of changing how we view life. Security and comfort are stripped away and replaced with adrenaline and stress. Priorities quickly change from calm and quiet to "do or die."
Christmas Eve 1914 came only five months after the start of the First World War. As dusk settled upon the soldiers, the sound of rifle fire and shells bombarding enemy lines gave way to a quiet stillness. The soldiers began preparations to celebrate as best they could under the circumstances. In the quiet of the moment, a lone voice came lilting across the battlefield. "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht. Alles Schlaft; Einsam Wacht." The words were not familiar, but the tune was undeniable…Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright.
The British soldiers joined in the song with the Germans. When the last note was sung, a lone German soldier climbed out of the trench and approached the British forces. "Merry Christmas," he said in broken English. "We no shoot. You no shoot." The British were unsure if this was a ploy to catch them with their guard down. The German infantryman showed he had no rife or weapon.
The men climbed out of their trench and joined him on the battlefield. The "no man's land" between lines transformed from a place of death and destruction to life and celebration. The men shook hands and greeted one another. They exchanged gifts of cigarettes and plum pudding. A friendly game of soccer broke out on the field. While some men celebrated, others used the time to gather their fallen brothers from the field of battle who were dead or wounded.
The gift the men gave one another that Christmas Eve was more than a break from bloodshed, it was the expression of "goodwill toward men." The priority became love for neighbor over love for winning the war at that moment.
The strife in Herod's world was chaos he had created to feel empowered and in control. Have you ever had people in your life who couldn't live without drama? Chaos was the norm. If there were no chaos, they would create some just to feel at home at the moment.
Christmas cuts through the chaos and appeals to our need for love, security, hope, and peace. The Wisemen left their meeting with Herod and saw the star appear once again. It's amazing how two people can look at the same circumstance and come to two very different conclusions. Herod heard about the star, his response… "overwhelmed." The Wisemen saw the star, their response… "overjoyed."
Jesus is our guide amid chaos. He is the one who brings joy to a heavy, troubled heart.
The more overwhelming our situation, the more we need to look to Jesus for our joy.