The Remarkable Power of Christmas Part I
At the birth of Jesus: "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"1
Lt. Gitz Rice belonged to a famous Canadian regiment that was sent to France in World War I. His regiment fought across the bleak no-man's-land under fierce fire from the enemy.
One unusual instrument Rice's company took with them was a piano on which rice composed the famous war-time song, "Mademoiselle from Armentieres."
On Christmas Eve the piano was brought to the front-line trenches. That night, an eerie quiet settled over no-man's-land that felt like a lull before deadly attacks at daylight. Enemy troops were so close they could be heard talking.
Shortly before midnight, Rice began playing Christmas carols in a British trench. The melody, "Silent Night, Holy Night," rang out and pierced the cold, frightening night. Then he played "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."
The Canadian soldiers joined in and sang with great gusto. Suddenly they were startled to hear the German soldiers joining them in song: "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht." Then followed other carols familiar to Christians everywhere.
Rice then played a German aria from Wagner's "Tannhaeuser." As he did a Canadian soldier climbed out of his trench, stood in the open and sang the words.
"Mehr! Mehr!" (More! More!) shouted the Germans. Then one of their own men climbed out of his trench, standing as a possible target for the British rifles, and blended his rich baritone voice with that of the Canadian.
At least for one night the message of Christmas broke through to those battle-weary soldiers as they laid their guns aside and sang together the story about the greatest event the world had ever seen—the story of God coming to earth as a baby to save lost mankind and, ultimately, to end all wars forever.
The Christmas story is truly amazing. Its celebration every year for the last 2,000 years is a constant reminder of its central place in mankind's history. Even our calendar is dated according to the birth of Christ.
It is such an amazing story, as Harry Reasoner, well-know television commentator shared on 60 Minutes, that "it leaves you only three ways of accepting it."
To be continued …
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the remarkable story of Christmas in the birth of your Son—Jesus the Christ and Savior of the world. Thank you that through Jesus I can make my peace with you, have all my sins forgiven, and be assured of a home in heaven to be with you for all eternity. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 2:13-15 (NIV).