December 1, Tuesday
1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (NRSV)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
On December 25th, 1914, at various points along the Western Front, troops from all over the world exited their trenches and exchanged greetings, gifts, and even played a few soccer matches. The Great War was only four months old, but already thousands had died on the front lines and millions more would die before the war ended in 1918. Despite the death and destruction in combat, the hope of Christmas was greater than the threat of dying in no man’s land. In the midst of terror, hope in the fellowship of Christ allowed men to overcome months of killing and find the grace of God in the midst of terrible conditions. Throughout history terrible things have happened: war, genocide, death, disease, famine, and suffering. But there always remains a thread of hope, a ‘beating of unseen wings,’ somewhere in the midst of despair. It can come from something as simple as a game of soccer between a group of German and British soldiers, or the exchange of pictures and stories from life at home. But it is always there. In looking for these moments of hope, we can find strength and beauty in fellowship. The Christmas Armistice of 1914 only happened once; every other year war overwhelmed thoughts of peace. And yet the events during the Armistice remained a symbol of hope, a way for people to come back together once the war ended. Today we are not engulfed in a world war, but there remain a multitude of opportunities for us to bring peace and fellowship to the hurting.
How can we use our gifts to help those around us? How can we help them hear ‘the beating of unseen wings’?
Prayer (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer: The campaign prayer book)
O Lord God, help us to strive for a peace beyond mere earthly peace, of restored fellowship among nations, enlargement of the Redeemer's Kingdom, and the reunion of Christendom in one faith and love. Amen.
By Amanda Ford, CBFAR Recorder
Rolling Hills Baptist Church, Fayetteville
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