On Christmas Day in 1914, there was a short pause in the bloody fight of World War I between the British and the German soldiers which is now known as the Christmas Truce of 1914. Enemy soldiers yelled out “Merry Christmas!” in their opponents’ native languages. They sang together and even exchanged gifts. Why would they celebrate peace, unity and prosperity in a time of unbelievable destruction? Why sing joyful carols in a time when young lives are cut short because their home countries can’t get along? What a strange time to celebrate peace, unity, and prosperity!
But I think that the war was the very reason that these young soldiers, stripped of their naivety, celebrated with the enemy. A world dominated and torn apart by war was united for one day. The sounds of gunfire were replaced with the sound of singing, and military commands were replaced by enemies commanding one another to be merry. They put their weapons down for a day and instead exchanged gifts. They did all of this knowing that they would have to return to their fighting the next day. Peace did not exist, but they still believed enough in peace to take a break from their harsh reality and think about peace together.
During the holidays, we are not necessarily celebrating because peace on earth exists. We are not feasting because hunger has been eradicated. And we do not shop and receive gifts because prosperity exists all over the world. We celebrate these things not because they currently exist in every way that they should exist. Instead we celebrate because we believe in them. We believe that peace can exist. We believe that hunger can be eradicated, and we believe that prosperity is possible for all people. Take some time this holiday season to hope in and celebrate all things good and right.
Have a very Merry Christmas, and the warmest of Holiday Wishes to you!