by Dave Gustavsen

A Christmas Eve Message of Peace
Dave Gustavsen

Good evening. And a very Merry Christmas to everyone.

As we gather tonight, we gather as honest people. And the honest truth is: there is a lot of darkness in our world. But we also gather as a hopeful people. And our hope is rooted in a promise that God made many years ago. About 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah the prophet wrote this:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of…(can you finish it?) Peace.

Jesus Christ entered into this world to bring us peace. And I want to begin tonight by sharing with you one of my favorite stories about Christmas peace. This is one of those stories that you hear, and you wonder if it’s really true. But I promise you that this one is true.

It took place back on Christmas Eve 1914, during World War I. It was on a battlefield called Flanders, which is in the country of Belgium, and the battlefield stretched for miles and miles. On one side of this field, there was the German army—and they had the reputation of being just brutal killers. On the other side of the field there was the British and French, who were fighting together. Both sides were dug into their trenches, and they were ready for battle. And in between those two armies there was this muddy, icy area that they called ‘‘No Man’s Land.’’

And on that Christmas Eve, something totally unexpected happened. The British looked across that icy field in the dark, and they saw these little evergreen trees being placed on top of the German trenches. Christmas trees! (And this is a picture of the German troops decorating the trees in their trench).

And then they started to see these signs being held up, some of them in German, some of them in broken English. The most common one was, ‘‘You no fight, we no fight.’’ Some of the British units started making their own sign ...

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