He is our Peace

Micah 5: 5a

December 19th & 21st, 2009

             When the judge asks the beauty contestant the proverbial “If there was one thing you desire in this world, what it be,” and she responds “world peace”,  we snicker at this simplistic answer.  Bumper stickers which say “visualize world peace” seem so out of step with reality.   The utopian (perfect) versions of peace  advocated by Peace Nics and various hippies during the 1960’s also seem hopelessly naïve.  Peace in our lives???  We might say,  yea right!  With the hustle and bustle of the season, the bickering kids, the colicky infant, the overbearing boss, the relative that always throws a crimp in the family celebrations, the great rift between former friends and neighbors, peace???……let’s be honest…… nice thought, but not very realistic.     After all we know the bible says we will have wars and rumors of wars.  Which means both global and worldwide peace will simply not be seen during our life on this planet.  Yet, we think “if we can get momentary peace, that’ll be enough.”    The question is…. will it?

            In 1914, Europe was in the midst of WW1.  As part of this war, a 400 mile stretch of trenches stretched from the Belgian Coast to the Swiss Border, and this became known as the Western Front.   On one side of these trenches were the Germans, and on the other side were primarily French and British Troops.   These trenches were in some places as close as 30 yards to one another.   Life in the trenches was a sloppy mess, with soldiers sloshing around in their boots for weeks on end.   The fighting was barbaric, and it went on for four plus years.   Half way through the war one soldier wrote  that it was “a place so terrible that a raving lunatic could never have imagined it”.   Yet, an amazing event happened on Christmas Eve in 1914.  The British soldiers noticed that on one side of the trenches songs, and candles being lit.  The German soldiers singing Christmas songs, and in the process the guns on many parts of the Western Front were silent.   Some people say that the British soldiers joined in their own trenches with the same Christmas songs, only in another language.   The next day (Christmas day) certain soldiers, defying orders, walked out of their bunkers and in the “no mans zone”  (the place between the two trenches) walked toward the enemy holding  Christmas trees.  Slowly and cautiously, men from both sides joined in the middle, shook hands, exchanged small gifts, buried their dead, and as the day goes on occasional “football” (soccer)  matches are being played.   These events were not universal on the front, and some fighting still took place both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Yet, it was a big enough event later recalled by so many soldiers, it became known as the Christmas Truce.

            When I heard that story, I thought “how wonderful, a picture of what God has in store for his people”.    However, upon further reflection,  this peace is not what is being spoken of in Micah 2:5a.  He writes and “He shall be their peace”.  In other words, the peace which Micah predicts is not so much a momentary glimpse into the so called better sides of humanity.   He is not advocating those occasional moments of peace we all want to recreate, and even crave.  Rather than talking about peace as an experience, he says peace is in a person.    In other words Jesus would not just give peace, he is peace.  Just like Jesus does not just give love, he is love.  Jesus does not just personify light, he is light.  A light in this very dark world.

            Peace is a person.   Peace is the God/Man Jesus Christ.   In Ephesians 2: 14 God says he himself is our peace.  How does this peace happen?  Colossians 1:19-20 says “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”   This blood, this real blood,  shed on your behalf and on my behalf is the way God has made peace between himself and a humanity has gone and is going astray.    Romans 5:1 says “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God”.   On Calvary’s cross Jesus cleanses and makes us clean.  Through faith/ trust in him we have peace !!!!!   Peace of the momentary variety, however profound,  is short and fleeting.  In WW1 the war went on for another three years, and nothing like the Christmas Truce every happened again.    Roughly 9 percent of the German population was either killed or wounded, and for British and the French  the number of causalities was almost the same. 

            The peace that comes our way from God….the peace for sinners…….the peace for those whose lives are anything but peaceful….. Is a lasting peace that is just a real for the soldier fraternizing with the enemy in 1914, as the soldier looking over the devastation of war and fighting on in Christmas of 1917.  Why?  Because it is a peace that is embodied in the person of Jesus, and now bestowed upon those who trust he who is the Prince of Peace.     We Christians sing and confess   peace on earth even when conflicts abound around us.   We can do so boldly and confidently for even when, these Christmas truce kind of moments end, we still have the one who is Peace.   Amen.