Faith, Hope & Endurance through the Light of Christ
During this Christmas season when I see beautiful Christmas trees with twinkling lights all around, my thoughts drift and my mind begins to ponder the Light of Christ and it’s influence upon the world. We read in John: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12.) This beautiful, pure light of Christ is power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences all people for good.
Some years ago I heard this heart-warming story that illustrates this point. It took place in 1914 during the first World War. It was called The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce and it was one of the most unlikely, yet ultimately forgotten Christmas stories.
The story starts after Christmas dinner, when Grandpa tells Thomas and Nora about his unforgettable Christmas Eve as a young soldier back in 1914, when German and Allied soldiers stopped fighting and came together to celebrate the holiday. tI took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold, rain and killing of the trenches. It happened in spite of orders to the contrary by superiors; it happened in spite of language barriers and it still stands as the only time in history that peace spontaneously arose from the lower ranks in a major conflict, bubbling up to the officers and temporarily turning sworn enemies into friends.
In the early months of World War I, on Christmas Eve, men on both sides of the trenches laid down their arms and joined in a spontaneous celebration as the unofficial truce spread across the front lines. Germans placed Candlelit Christmas trees on trench parapets, warring soldiers sang carols and men on both sides shared food parcels from home. They climbed from the trenches to meet in "No Man's Land" where they buried the dead exchanged gifts and even played soccer.
Here is a short excerpt from a book Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub: "Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey...wrote to his mother, "a most extraordinary thing happened....Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men... It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours."
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (D&C 6:21.)
We know that without physical light we cannot see the things around us or even where we are going; and without spiritual light we cannot have knowledge or understanding. I am so grateful for the Light of Christ in my life and the Faith, Hope & Endurance it provides.
I believe that God pours His Spirit out upon all nations in greater abundance during the Christmas season as a reminder to each of us of His unfathomable gift of His Son. Evidence of this outpouring is tangible as we witness individual kindnesses being extended to others. Family members reconcile hard feelings toward one another, members of communities around the world give to those less fortunate, and many give gifts and sustenance to the stranger. The Lord's Light is real, and it affects and is effective in every one of us for good. That is the feeling and altruism I love about this season commemorating the birth of Christ.
May each of us so live that through our kindness and good works, and with the Light of Christ in our lives, we may contribute to and see the dawning of a brighter day in a dark and troubled world.