Peace on Earth. Is it a great concept, a good idea or just a fairytale that kids sing about to bring hopeful harmonious wishes into the world that the next year will be better than the last? What if the only violence would be on its itself, changing our hurtful words into encouraging ones, not talking behind people’s backs but standing up for them, beating our swords to plowshares and our spears to pruning hooks? What do we do when evil rears it’s ugly head as we have often seen in the past as the Nazis did? Do we fight for peace on earth? I believe we must! But how does fighting gain peace? The will of man seems less than good as we try to lead, but God has a plan for fallen man and when we sing about the Savior’s birth, knowing or unknowing, something happens that brings a feeling of peace to the heart.
At the Battle of the Bulge, there was an American tank officer who had to decide to surrender to the Germans or go through the town of St. Vith, which the Germans had captured the night before. He decided to go for it, as they rolled through the enflamed town bullets ricocheting off the tanks. When they made a turn the road was blocked. As they struggled on what direction to go about a dozen soldiers came running toward them and when they were about to fire they realized that they were American soldiers.
The men climbed on the tanks, and they raced out of town. The tank commander opened the hatch, and he noticed that there were Germans on the tanks too. These men were probably trapped, fearing that they were dead men moments before, but now there was a hope that they might live to see Christmas. One of the GIs started to sing “Silent night, Holy night” and they all joined in even the Germans “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.”
There is something about Christmas when enemies can become friends, it brings a sense of peace that we can’t deny! Is it the giving, the lights, the songs! And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14) Not only peace on our war-beaten world, but peace within our broken heart.
I talked to a man who was married for 59 years, and his wife died a little over a year ago. The grief would overtake him so severely at times he would shake, and he said what really helped him was hearing about his Savior Jesus. As Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not be troubled and do not be afraid.” ( John 14:27) “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart!” (Unknown) Jesus came to bring peace to our hearts. He said that He is the fulfillment of the law, God’s forgiveness plan, so we can walk in good will toward God and man.
Benjamin Budde is a husband, father, preacher, artist and songwriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.