Peace Forever

On Christmas Eve in 1914 many British, Belgian, and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of the trenches, and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies. Most accounts suggest the truce began on Christmas Eve with the Germans singing carols from the trenches.  The next morning these same German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English.  It is said that over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts, food, buttons, and hats. Several accounts even mention impromptu soccer matches with makeshift soccer balls. German Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch recalled: “How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was.” The English officers felt the same way about it. Some soldiers used this time of truce to retrieve of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines. I love this account of the Christmas truce of 1914. Can you imagine the scene?  In the midst of a war, gunfire, and death there comes a day of peace. Imagine the feeling of those short hours of peace.  

Micah 5:2 is a familiar passage we typically hear this time of year.  “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler of Israel for me.  His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” This text written some 700 years before the birth of Jesus very specifically states that Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.  As this prophecy unfolds, Micah tells us that this Ruler will be from antiquity, that He will stand and shepherd the people of Israel, and He will be their peace.  Micah begins with a prophecy of judgement.  Now as you move through the book of Micah, the prophecies of judgement and destruction alternate back and forth with promises of hope and deliverance.  If you look from beginning to end one of major themes of the book is peace in the midst of judgement.  At no point is this theme clearer than in chapter 5.  God’s answer to the question of where you find peace in the midst of judgement and fear is in the Advent of Messiah.  

Micah 5:2 is not only good news in that it tells us that Messiah is coming once, but the remaining verses in Micah 5 point to a day in which this Ruler’s reach will extend to the ends of the earth and will last for eternity.  Friends, we can take great encouragement from these words of Micah in knowing that the peace that is spoken about here will not last 24 hours and then the war begins again, but this peace will last forever.  God’s answer for us today in the midst of dark and trying times is still Jesus. In a world of uncertainty, the one true thing that is certain is that Jesus will come back.  So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus during these days let us remember that the birth of Jesus is a guarantee of peace forever.

Pastor Jeff

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