What If It Really Happened?

Christmas in the Trenches

My gift to you this Christmas is a powerful commercial that was produced by a British chocolate company on the centennial of the start of WWI.  If you’ve seen it before, you’ll want to watch it again.  I, for one, never get tired of seeing it.

It really happened, you know, on the first Christmas after the start of what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.” You’ll find the details in Stanley Weintraub’s book,  Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.

For one brief, shining moment, peace surprised a world that was intoxicated with war. It happened on a miserably cold night when the sound of voices singing “Silent Night” drifted across the mud, barbed wire and decaying bodies in No Man’s Land.

It must have been like the night when ordinary shepherds in their fields were awakened by a heavenly choir singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all.”

In our relentlessly-warring, conflict-ridden, weapon-saturated, hate-motivated world, the promise of peace and goodwill might seem like a figment of our Christmas imagination that doesn’t make any real difference the rest of the year.  But what if…

What If…

What if what happened in the trenches really is what God intends for this world and for all of us?

What if that brief, shining moment of peace is a picture of what our lives and our world are meant to be?

What if all of our violence, hatred, jingoistic nationalism, bigotry, and just plain meanness are not supposed to be the norm, but are brutal aberrations of God’s will; the deadly expression of our sinful rebellion against God’s will and way?

What if peace on earth is not only God’s intention but is, in fact, the way God is already at work to save and redeem us?

What if the peace we most deeply desire is found in the baby in Bethlehem?

What if what happened to the soldiers in the trenches and the shepherds in the fields could happen to us?

Now, there would be a Christmas gift worth hoping for!

Merry Christmas!




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7 thoughts on “What If It Really Happened?

  1. And also to you, Jim.

    Beautifully written. To quote my mother’s description of you when serving Crescent City, you continue to “show promise.” May your tribe increase.

    Bill Bill Walker

    Mobile: 407-496-2627 wwalker787@aol.com

    1847 Jessica Court Winter Park, FL 32789-5935

    328 Walker Ridge Road Lyndonville, VT 05851-4527

    1. Thanks! Your mother’s encouragement in my early years has continued to be a gift to my ministry. If you want to see the sermon from which this was taken, it’s at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojkWCosjRfs. Let’s find a time to get together.

  2. Thanks for this, Jim. I hope you all will have a truly good Christmas. Larry Hays

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I’d forgotten. Brought tears . . . again!Thanks for the reminder.Bonnie

  4. Jim, I very much appreciate your writing. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Doug & Kris Ryckman December 25, 2018 — 4:01 am

    Merry Christmas Jim and Marsha. We miss hearing you weekly and especially at important times like these.

    1. Doug & Kris: Great to hear from you! We miss being connected with you. If your travels bring you through Orlando lets get together! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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