A Christ-mas Truce

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Alfred Anderson died last week, he was 109 years old. That he died last week is worth noting but what he was doing in 1914 is of great interest. Mr. Anderson was the last known survivor of the 1914 Christmas Truce in WWI.

Unless you’re a history buff or know a little something about the First World War the Christmas truce may be something you know little if anything about. It occurred on Christmas 1914 on the western front between British and German troops.

On that Christmas these men stood within shouting distance in the muddy, blood soaked trenches that separated the two enemies. The fighting in world war one was some of if not the bloodiest of the last century. For months men could hear the voice of the enemy alone with the bullets being fired at them from close range. Alfred had this quote last year at the age of 108 some 90 years after the event, “All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whinning of bullets in flight.” Then on Christmas he remembered hearing a strange sound; silence. He said, “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence.”

What broke that silence? Gun shots, no. Cannon fire, no. hand grenades exploding in their trench, no. What broke the silence Alfred said was the sound of men shouting Merry Christmas. Then for a matter of hours British and German soldiers came out from their trenches and shared a smile, a smoke and a time of peace. The peace lasted for hours and in some cases tradition has it days in a cease fire with the enemy they had been attempting to kill over the last several months. It was a moment of humanity and sanity in an otherwise cruel and heartless war.

This event came to be known as the Christmas Truce of 1914. I wonder if perhaps the world would be a better place if we took the ‘mas’ off the Christmas and just had a Christ truce. If just for a moment we would stop firing shots at our enemies long enough to visit with them. To look them eye to eye, you know it is much easier to take shots at people when you can’t see them. But when you look them in the eye, when you realize that they are human just like you with family, friends, dreams and heartaches then really that changes everything.

You see we are never closer to being Christ-like than when we treat our enemies with the respect, that He would. We can never influence the world until we quit firing shots at one another. You know what I mean by shots, words that wound, hateful accusations, a lack of mercy to the hurting.

How can we create a Christ Truce? We can forgive with ease. We can attempt to see the other person’s side, we don’t have to agree just a little looking in the eyes and attempting to understand will work miracles. When we have the chance for a cease fire, instead of firing one last bullet, we can let it go. We can make the wounded feel welcome instead of looking for ways to bury them in a sea of guilt or shame.

The world has seen enough of the wars fought by Christians, they are thoroughly unimpressed and there certainly is no Christ in that type of atmosphere. Let’s start a truce, let us be people of peace. Let us put down our weapons, get up out of the trenches, walk into that empty space they called ‘no mans land’ and put our hands out reaching in love. I know it is dangerous out there, but it is worth the risk.

Alfred Anderson remembered the peace in the middle of war some 90 years later, that friend’s is an impact.

Those around us will remember our Christ truce and weapons of the peace given by the Spirit of God; it could affect them for an eternity. That too is impact.

Colossians 3:12-15, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe your selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which bind them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Dear Lord it is not easy to be the peacemaker at times, help us to lean on your strength and your power. Help us to be more compassionate, more humble, more gentle and more patient; in short Lord help us to be like you, In Christ Name Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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