I love the music of Christmas. Rumour has it you might see a Christmas playlist on my phone well before December’s festivities are in full swing.
There are many incredible songs of the season. One of my favourites is “Snoopy’s Christmas.” You thought I’d say “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” or “O Holy Night” (and I do love these too), but no, it’s a song featuring an animated dog on a flying doghouse going into battle. Isn’t that nuts? Well, Peanuts, maybe. 🙂
The song was initially released in 1966 as “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” by a band called The Royal Guardsmen. In the song, Snoopy is cast as a World War I pilot in a dogfight with his nemesis, the evil Red Baron. But one special Christmas, their fighting turned into the most unlikely of friendships.
Interestingly, however, this fictitious armistice was inspired by real-life events.
An unexpected event known as the “Christmas Truce” of World War I occurred on Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day 1914. Soldiers from opposing trenches along the Western Front, primarily German and British, initiated an unofficial ceasefire. Fighting paused, and festivities began. Carols were sung, Christmas greetings were exchanged, and a soccer game was played. A rare display of humanity occurred amid the inhumanity of war. Peace transcended conflict.
Can peace transcend our world’s divisions, fractures, and conflicts today? Can we live in peace while circumstances around us are not peaceful? How can we be men of peace?
There are some clues found in the conclusion of a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth:
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)
The backstory to this letter was one of conflict—lots of conflict. Paul’s apostolic authority was attacked and undermined by false apostles, there was dissension over financial support, there were numerous divisions on doctrinal and practical matters, and then there was the litany of Paul’s personal afflictions. His list of experiences in 2 Corinthians 4 is extensive and jaw-dropping: whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, lost at sea – and that’s only two verses. There were dangers, deprivations, and deep concerns (see vv. 23-33 for the complete list). His trauma must have been profound.
But into this internal and external turmoil, he writes those final words to the church in Corinth. And in this simple benediction, there is a gift for us: three keys to living transcendent lives as men of peace this holiday season.
He begins with the encouragement to “Be joyful.” Men of peace live with a hopeful and joyful attitude. This is not a flaky emotion but a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Conflict around us need not steal the joy within us if we stay focused on Christ and trust in His plan and purposes.
He challenges the church to “Grow to maturity.” Men of peace are committed to new heights in their relationship with God through spiritual rhythms and daily practices. They are committed to becoming, growing, and living as disciples of Jesus.
The admonition, “Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace,” was the ultimate need in the Corinth church. Peace is not passive; it is participatory. Men of peace roll up their sleeves, take action, and choose to be peacemakers and encouragers— the antidote to divisions and conflict.
Our peace doesn’t have to be contingent on the circumstances around us. Our peace can transcend the world’s conflict, anger, and division. How do I know? Because the “Prince of Peace” reminded us of a gift that is available for His followers:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27, NLT
As men of peace, we are on a peace mission, and we are not alone because we have this promise from the end of Paul’s benediction to Corinth: “Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”
We can bring peace to our broken, divided and warn-torn world every day because the Prince of Peace is on mission with us.
And if Snoopy can do it, so can we.