Christmas Truce of 1914
It is hard to believe that we are in December of 2020. This year has been one for the history books and with 31 days till 2021 the finish of 2020 should be interesting to say the least. With Covid-19 still causing churches alarm and the political battle still going on, I fear for our country and our churches. If we could just take a chapter out of history of a story from World War I about the famous Christmas Truce of 1914. British and German soldiers held an unofficial ceasefire starting on Christmas Eve and continuing till Christmas Day. Singing Christmas carols, the soldiers on both sides joined in and in the morning continued the armistice by climbing out of their trenches and greeted each other with “Merry Christmas”. They exchanged gifts of cigarettes and food. There is a story of a friendly soccer game among the warriors. German Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch recalled: “How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of love managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could call a truce during this Christmas season to all the craziness that is happening around this country? Unfortunately, I feel this is not going to happen this year. If anything, it may get worse. This is one of those times that I would love to be wrong but if you have been paying attention to what has been happening around the country, there is a war against the church, and I don’t see the Christmas Truce of 2020 happening.
We started a series on our Thursday night webinars called “Getting Ready for Christmas”. We pointed out the attacks we had seen on churches this year. States like California closed churches because of the pandemic. When churches started to fight back, they found themselves being fined and the pastors threatened of being arrested. A pastor in Hillsborough County was put in jail because he defied county orders of churches not being an essential business and held services. Other churches that had outside services, police departments wrote down license tags of those attending for possible future charges of violating public health guidelines. We saw churches where Black Life Matter (BLM) protesters showed up and blocked the entrances from attendees being able to attend services without being harassed and physically assaulted. We witnessed a church who lost a lease on two of their campuses that were being held in two different school buildings. A non-church goer who was following the lead pastor on Twitter felt because he liked a Trump tweet that he was racist. The school board agreed and canceled the church’s lease at the two schools. And this was just the beginning.
We saw two churches in Florida where each suspect poured flammable liquids in their worship centers and set them on fire. In one of those incidents the suspect drove his van through the front doors of the church before pouring 10 gallons of gasoline on the floor and igniting it while members were in the service. Fortunately, no one was hurt but these are the attacks we are seeing more and more of.
Then a BLM activist tweeted that all art of a white European reference to Jesus, Mary and the Disciples should be taken down because they are a form of white supremacy. After that we saw an uptick of attacks on statues of Jesus and Mary across the United States. In one arrest in Texas the suspect said he vandalized the statue of Mary because she was the wrong color. We talked about this before, race is the only way that Satan can drive this country apart and believe me, Satan is alive and well.
But just when I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe we could have a truce during Christmas and put away all of the negative things that have happened to us during this year and maybe, just maybe we could hold onto that Christmas tradition of “… and on earth peace and good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14), things continued to escalate. No matter what your political views are or even if you don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, could we put our differences aside and remember the meaning of the season?
Yet while reading a news article on Thanksgiving Day I realized that there is not going to be truce in fact we are in a spiritual war that appears to have no end. The article from the Fulton Sun talked about a historic church in Holts Summit, MO that was vandalized. The title read “Vandals wreck historic Holts Summit Church”. It also when on to say the church’s congregation was reeling after the attack. This was not just a few holes in windows or some graffiti on the walls, this was massive damage to the church. Windows smashed, gaping holes torn in the walls, pews tipped over, toilets shattered, furniture smashed and even blades on ceiling fans were broken. There were gun shots to doors in the building and even scorch marks where they lit fireworks in the church. Another article “Vandals destroy historic Holts Summit church and its new location on Thanksgiving eve” show over 33 pictures of the damage to this church that was originally built over two centuries ago. This attack is nothing more than hate and we need to be prepared for this type of assault against any house of worship.
There are people out here that would like to take Christ out of Christmas, remember they tried it before. They even came out and said that it was politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas” because it insulted those who did not believe in Christ. What did we do? We took a stance and we found that there were more people that liked the words “Merry Christmas” than those that felt offended. We did not take this stand to cause a war, we just didn’t like being told we could not enjoy the birthday of Christ.
So, for this Christmas I want to reach out to those that probably will not read this blog and offer an olive branch. Instead of fighting over our differences until the end of time, whether if I believe, Christ coming home or as you believe a comet destroys the earth or aliens from outer space comes down and takes you home, let’s agree for a brief afternoon that we are stuck together on this planet. We have not colonized Mars or the Moon yet so unless we move to different countries we will be here for a while. Why can’t we sit down and have a conversation and respect each other in our differences? Let’s promise not to talk about politics or religion but to ask each other how our families are doing. Let’s promise to not yell at each other but give each other a voice and listen to each other. At the end of having a moment together I will tell you that I am going to pray for you and you can tell me to have a nice day but we will have a moment where we talk about what is going on in our lives and treat each other civil before we go back to our battles over who is right and who is wrong. We both know that we probably will not change each other’s minds or agendas; but I would like to think maybe we could have the Christmas Truce of 2020. Care to join me?
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Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.