ST. JOHN DAMASCENE, PRIEST AND DOCTOR (OPTIONAL MEM.)
One nation shall not raise the sword against another.
By Christmas Eve 1914, the First World War had been raging for six months. But something strange happened that night. In several locations along the front lines, soldiers on both sides climbed out of their trenches and met each other. They shook hands, sang songs, and traded tobacco and bottles of wine. They even played pickup soccer games. One soldier wrote, “Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.”
You could see this unlikely truce as simply a touching example of the Christmas spirit in action. But you could also see it as a foretaste of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy from today’s first reading. What could cause deadly enemies to lay down their guns? Well, maybe not “what” but rather “who.” Only Jesus, the One the Scriptures call the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5), could do this.
How? When he gave his life for us on the cross, Jesus reconciled us to our heavenly Father. Now reconciled with God, we can receive the grace and the power to be reconciled with one another. We see the peace that he has brought to our own hearts, and it changes the way we look at other people. We want them to experience that peace and reconciliation, too.
As you reflect on this scene of enemies connecting with each other, you may be thinking of some other conflicts closer to home. Perhaps you know a family where there is a long-standing grudge festering. Or perhaps there is someone in your own family who is difficult to get along with.
There’s no “magic formula” to make everything all right. But don’t discount the power of prayer. Invite Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to bring reconciliation into each relationship. Ask for inspiration—you may realize that there is something you can do or say that will help bring Christ’s peace to the situation. You have the Holy Spirit within you, and his grace can do amazing things. This Christmas, may Christ turn enemies into friends once again—and friends for more than just one day!
“Lord, may your peace reign—in our families, neighborhoods, and communities, in our nation, and around the world.”