As we approach the end of another year and as we look forward to celebrating another Christmas we would like to reflect on the meaning of this most wonderful event - the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
The blessings of the Gospel are literally endless and available to all those that seek Christ. The Gospel brings love, happiness, forgiveness, vision, comfort, purpose, harmony and peace. Unfortunately, for many people, finding peace in the world, in communities and families, seems to be more elusive than ever before. Conflicts are as ancient as the human race and yet the message found in John 14:27 'peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you' can transcend all misunderstanding, differences and division.
In December 1914, combatants in World War I spent their first Christmas on the battlefields. The conditions were horrendous; enemy trenches dug in wet, cold and muddy terrain were only a few hundred meters apart and death was almost a certainty for anyone fighting in this senseless conflict. These few hundred meters were known as ‘No Man's Land’, no one would venture there.
Yet, it was in No Man's Land where the miracle of Christmas took place, where truce and peace, even for a short moment, came to life.
On December 24, somewhere, someone in these battlefields thought to light a candle, a lonely twinkling light in the night. Then, a few others followed with their own candles. Soon hundreds of them could be seen across the trenches, lights of hope and lights of peace. Then cutting through the fog of war and the darkness of night, voices could be heard singing 'Silent Night' and the 'First Noel'. The spirit of Christmas, the spirit of peace was not going to be denied.
Momentary peace broke out, arms were stretched, little that could be exchanged was offered as gifts to the enemy. Men from France, Germany, England and Belgium found words of peace; conversation in broken language took place and even a soccer game was played. All this took place in a desolate and barren land - No Man's Land - where no man dared to walk. Now, guns, hatred and violence were put aside. A holy and precious moment of peace was captured. The spirit of Christmas, the message of peace and goodwill to all men filled men's hearts and souls.
While this Christmas truce lasted for only a few hours the message is simple. Even in the most dire moments peace can bloom.
Christ is the Messenger of Peace. As we celebrate Christmas let's bring peace in our homes, communities and the world. Isaiah reminded us of the following (Isa 52:7), 'How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who publish peace.' And Jesus taught (Mat 5:9), 'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.'
We hope that this Christmas season will fill your heart with love and peace. We wish you all a wonderful Christmas.
The Stake Presidency
Mary and Joseph journey to Bethlehem
Nativity scene with Mary and baby Jesus