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The Miracle of Christmas

Almost forgotten now - seldom ever recalled – is the Christmas Day of 1914. The First World War was in its first years, and as Christmas drew near, the thoughts of men of both armies, facing each other across the dead strewn “No Man’s Land,” turned towards home. Home where the Christmas trees were gaily decorated amid the warmth and love of the annual celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. 

Religious leaders across the world appealed to both the German and Allied Armies for a Christmas cease-fire. The Kaiser and the Allied generals alike turned a deaf ear. There would be no cessation of hostilities – no ceasefire for any cause. Word was passed down the lines that any and all requests for Christmas leave would be denied. 

But then one of the strangest happenings this world has ever known occurred. At the stroke of midnight, guns ceased to belch forth their message of death. Quietly, rifles were laid aside - a strange silence descended over No Man’s Land. Silently, men reached out to those nearest them to squeeze a hand and by saying “Merry Christmas” to a buddy somehow it was saying it to their loved ones back at home and far away. 

As these whispered greetings were passed along down the trenches, an eerie, unnatural silence gripped the land. Heads were bowed in silent prayer, then suddenly into this silence between the two lines of trenches there came a voice loud and clear “Froelich Weinachten!” which means Merry Christmas in German. Slowly, heads came up to see what was happening. Swiftly now there were greetings of the season flung back and forth all down the lines. Cautiously, one after another, the men of both sides crawled out of their trenches and into the middle of No Man’s Land they met. Enemies sworn to kill each other, German and Allied soldiers rushed to meet each other to exchange Christmas greetings, and to declare for themselves what the appeals of all the religious leaders of the world had not been able to declare.

Afterward, Generals fumed, inquires were made, reprimands were handed out, and by the next Christmas 1915 the practice of killing had become so much a habit that this did not happen again. But this tribute to the power of a baby who was born in a manger will live forever.

 

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Applied Christianity

I once talked with a man who was convinced that Christianity was a failure. His conclusion was based on the fact that while our cities are full of churches and preachers, our world is getting worse and worse.

If you think about this criticism, you must agree that there is much religion in America that has little effect on the daily lives of people. While the number of church members may grow each year, so does lawlessness and immorality. But does this mean that Christianity is a failure? No. At the close of World War I a soap manufacturer, walking down the street with his pastor, was bemoaning the “failure” of Christianity. He said to his pastor, “After 19 centuries of preaching and teaching Christ, there is still so much evil in the world. I don’t see how you can go on preaching the Gospel.” 

“I don’t see how you can go on manufacturing soap,” retorted the pastor. “Look at the little urchin playing in the gutter. Neck and ears filthy. There’s still so much dirt in the world. Soap is such a failure.”

“But,” countered the soap manufacturer, “If people will just apply the soap, they’ll be clean.”

“Yes,” concluded the pastor, “and if men will but apply Christ to their daily living, they will also be clean.” 

The evil of today’s world is not due to Christianity’s failure, but to our failure to apply our Christianity. As writer G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and not tried."

Attend church Sunday, listen to God’s word, then apply it to your daily life and you and the world will both be better because of it.

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