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The War To End All Wars

12.06.17 | by Matt Davis

To some it was called "The Great War." To others it was referred to as "The War To End All Wars." Today, we know this war as World War I, and in the one hundred years since, it has proven to NOT be the war to end all wars. Not even close.

Exactly 103 years ago tomorrow, December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV pleaded with the warring powers to hold a Christmas truce, asking "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang," to allow for negotiations for peace. While the plea was officially dismissed and the war continued, something special was initiated among the soldiers on Christmas Eve in 1914.

While both sides housed their soldiers in trenches with the "No Man's Land" lying in between, Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described what happened in even greater detail:

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

The men on both sides eventually came out of the trenches and gathered together in “No Man’s Land.” There, they continued to sing of the birth of Christ when just a few hours earlier they were trying to kill each other. They exchanged gifts, participated in each other’s burial services and accounts tell of soldiers playing soccer together.

The following day, the war resumed. They returned to trying to kill each other and mostly succeeded. When the war finally ended four years later, more than 15 million were counted among the dead. The peace was temporary.

Join us this Sunday at 9:00am or 11:00am as we continue in our Advent series, focusing specifically on this idea of peace. You've no doubt read this Bible passage regarding the coming of Jesus:

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace..." Isaiah 9:6-7

This prophecy from Isaiah tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but more than that, there will be no end to the peace that He offered. If this is true, why does our current landscape seem so filled with wars and rumors of wars?

The truth is that the war that Jesus came to bring peace to was with our relationship with God. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." Our anticipation, our longing, especially in this Christmas season, is for the return of Jesus where His peace will not just be in our hearts, but here on earth as well.

Matt Davis
Marriage & Family Pastor

 

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