Summary: During Christmas in 1914 the German and Western armies made an unofficial cease fire unsanctioned by the command staff of the armies.

During Christmas in 1914 the German and Western armies made an unofficial cease fire unsanctioned by the command staff of the armies. This came about because of a request from Pope Benedict XV who earlier suggested a ceasing of warfare during Christmas.

The move Joyeux Noel or Merry Christmas gives a picture of what these looked like. French, Scotts, and German soldiers agreed to not shoot. They met one another. They exchanged things like tobacco and drinks. They gathered and buried their dead. And in the movie, a Catholic priest conducts a service with French and Germans listening.

The ceasefire stole the fire from the command staff and their desire to have their troops view the enemy as non-human. The opening scene has one child call for the extermination of the Huns. A French child speaks of the map of Germany being red not black and a German child speaks of England having a “heart replete with hatred, gall and envy (Carion).”

Peace, according to the politicians and generals would end with the extermination of the enemy. However, for the soldiers who were in the trenches, peace looked much different. They saw their opposites as humans. Men who were bored and indifferent to the war. Those who were in an impossible place and had to make the best of it.

How does this apply to us? John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The means by which Jesus leaves that peace is through His death and resurrection. It is by means of His suffering that we have peace with God.

During Advent most of us focus on the birth of Christ because it is Christmas. Jesus’ birth seems so nice. But Advent also considers the present coming of Christ as He changes the lives of people who invite Him to be their Lord. Advent also has to do with Jesus’ return. Luke 21 has Jesus telling His disciples that They are to be cosmic signs, as well as signs on land and sea. Humans will wither before these signs and His return. Then our Lord tells His followers (and us), “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” 21:28

How do we live the Peace that Jesus gives when we are acculturated into a world that, at best, give lip service to God while it presses its own desires and agendas? How do we raise our heads from what we see around us in order to see our redemption, which is Jesus drawing closer?


Jesus tells us “watch yourselves” in verse 34 and “stay awake” in verse 36. These aren’t new commands from Jesus. Both are imperative meaning they are not suggestions but orders. Time-and-time again Jesus’ commands us, and His disciples to watch, stay awake, stand, don’t be found asleep, etc.

To watch yourself is to keep your head on a swivel. It calls for us who follow Jesus to exercise ‘situational awareness.’ In the Old Testament this phrase warns the people that if they will die if the cross onto Mt. Sinai. It is God’s warning to Israel to not forget the covenant which they had made with Him by worshipping other deities. “Coming from the mouth of Moses, Israel’s preeminent leader, this admonition is a warning of utmost gravity. (Edwards 610-611)"

In verse 36 the command to stay awake is linked to the word kairos, one of two words used for ‘time’ in Greek. Chronos means sequential time… minutes, hours, days, and the like. Kairos describes a qualitatively different sense of time. It indicates the right moment or opportune time to accomplish God’s will. Kairos involves a season or period of time in which what is needed takes place. So those who are caught up in these times will be wise enough to escape.

Jerusalem is going to destroyed, and Jesus’ disciples will experience this as their entire heritage is destroyed. Yet the promise of Jeremiah that a “righteous branch” will grow by God’s will demonstrates that human righteousness has no place in salvation.

"The only righteousness that will triumph is that of Christ. Thus, a decision to be without God and go one’s own way means missing the opportunity for eternal salvation that God has so graciously provided through Jesus (Bock 541)."

The greatest threat to staying aware is complacency. COVID-19 has given us plenty of examples of this. We assume our knowledge, ability, and way of life doesn’t have to really change. A hospital director in Madrid commented “we have sinned from too much confidence (Macaes)” because no one thought such a disease could spread “in a country like ours (Ibid.).”

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