Dec 22 2010

Stille nacht, Heilige nacht

His name was Joseph and he was far away from home.


It was a few day before Christmas and he was so tired, down to his bones.  And hungry.  When did he last eat?  Certainly nothing even warmed up for several days.  But the worst was being so wet, and so cold.  Oh, and also so filthy.  He was way past getting used to smelling himself.  The fact was, he could not remember ever feeling more miserable.


And then, a miracle.  Well, almost a miracle.  For the first time in weeks the clouds parted and he could see the stars.  Clear, and bright this night, instead of shining through the haze of smoke and fog like usual.  Joseph could easily see around himself now, and saw what he knew to be true – that he was not alone.  He could see the others sleeping, allowing this connection with them to warm him for a moment.


And then Joseph heard something; something he had not heard in weeks, maybe months.  He heard…nothing.  For the first time since he could remember, the night sounds were not filled with the screams of shells, the staccato of machine gun fire, the moans of the wounded and despairing.  Not even the rats that shared their stinking trench seemed to be stirring.  Just the sound of nothing.


But Joseph knew better than to be fooled into laziness by that silence.  Just fifty yards away, across an ugly stretch of land filled with bomb holes and barbed wire and mines and poison, there were the fighting forces of the enemy, in their own trenches, also waiting for order to either attack or defend that day.  Again and again, over and over.


You see, this was almost 100 years ago in the fields and hills of western France, once-beautiful but now-destroyed and terrible.  Joseph was soldier in an infantry unit from America sent to this foreign war to help the fight against bullies and cruelty.


Joseph did not want to die here, so far away from home, but he was not afraid of death.  When he was much younger, he had prayed to give his life for God and become a Christian.  He knew that for him to keep living meant that he could help others to know about Jesus, but to die and actually BE with Jesus was even better.  And if he were going to die here in this war, he knew he would just leave that cold, wet, miserable body and be with Jesus right away.  That hope that he shared was helpful to many of his buddies in his unit who were sad and lonely.


Joseph was overcome with an impulse that he knew was not a good idea.  His officers would have a fit, but an urge grew up inside him as he saw the brightness of the stars’ light and heard the nothingness all around him.  A song rose in his heart, and he thought if he could just sing it, things might be just a little better for a while.  Maybe just softly enough that not many others would even hear him.


Silent night, Holy night.  All is calm, all is bright.


After finishing singing, Joseph wanted to sing another verse, but he couldn’t remember any of the words, so he sat quietly for a moment.  Then he heard something that amazed him.  Other soldiers around him, his buddies, started singing the song again, and this time others joined in, and like a row of dominoes that extends in both directions on and on and on.  A giant wave of song swept over that terrible place – not a loud, thundering sound, but a deep echo of music.


But the singing had not been a good idea after all.  The enemy, across the way, was on the move.  The soldiers were used to those sounds of preparation for movement that came before an attack, the stirring of bodies and equipment.  But an attack did not come.  Instead there was an attack of music, as the enemy soldiers picked up where the Americans had left off and began to sing the very same song in their own language.


Stille nacht, Heilige nacht.  Alles schläft, einsam wacht.


As the music died away, Joseph knew that for the first time, and maybe for only tonight, there would be…peace.


When we hear about something called the spirit of Christmas, that usually means a feeling of love and peace that seems to happen only this time of year.  People decide to stop bickering and fighting and even mail greeting cards to people they haven’t spoken to in years.


But for a Christian, the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Jesus Christ Himself, the Holy Spirit, who live inside of us.  We have that spirit of joy and peace and love all year long...


because of Jesus.

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Comments (13) -

12/22/2009 8:22:54 AM
Olinda United States
What we do makes a difference good or bad. We must listen to GOD and do His will. Merry CHRISTmas!

12/22/2009 8:49:14 AM
Beth United States
This story reminded me of a song that my Husband and I love to hear every Christmas.  It is Garth Brooks - Belleau Wood.   It is a song based on this story.
12/22/2009 10:57:58 AM
Stacey United States
How beautiful!
12/22/2009 12:23:15 PM
Alison Lord United States
Alison Lord
Lisa & Eric,

That is such a beautiful story. I don't know if you've ever heard the song, but there is one that Garth Brooks sings called "Belleau Wood" about this very story. It is so beautiful, thanks so much for all you do, my life is truly blessed through KLove!

12/23/2009 4:25:07 PM
Christine United States
This made me think of the Garth Brooks' song based on this story too.
12/22/2010 3:37:26 AM
Patrick United States
I just heard Lisa read Luke 2 .... Have you ever watched Charlie Brown closely when Linus quotes Luke 2 and the part where the Angel says "Fear Not", Linus lets go of his most cherished possession - his blanket!!!  Very strong message from the child, but you had to pay close attention -- it took me 30 years to figure it out!!!
12/22/2010 5:35:33 AM
Kristen United States
Lisa and Eric,

This story about peace really hit home this morning. Last night my sister's apartment was broken into. The possessions and Christmas gifts that were taken aren't what is important. I'm just happy that no one was hurt because she wasnt home. But, the sense of peace and security she had is gone. She and her little boy are staying with me until she can find a new/safer place to live (which isn't easy since she is a single mom who works really hard to provide for her son) so I would really appreciate everyone's prayers that she finds peace and God this Christmas  

12/22/2010 6:23:02 AM
Joyce O. United States
Joyce O.
I'm having a hard time this year. But I have FAITH that God will get me through it all. He as always been there in my time of need.
12/22/2010 7:50:40 AM
Tristina United States
I wanted to share this link.  
YouTube - A Different Christmas Poem

12/22/2010 8:55:11 AM
LK Shinneman (Just LK) United States
LK Shinneman (Just LK)
All I can say to this story is AMEN!

As always, may His peace be with you and yours, especially during this season of celebrating His birth...LK
12/23/2010 3:21:35 AM
Krista United States
Lisa and Eric,
Thank you so much for posting this story.  I love this story so much. Smile  I am glad I can now share it with others because I had forgotten the details of it.  But it was this story that brings a tear of joy to my eye everytime I sing "Stille Nacht..."  My boyfriend is German and we are apart this Christmas.  But, like I said on the fb page, I am greatful for the blessing of technology. Smilehehe!
Merry Christmas to you both, and to all of our brothers and sisters in the gospel. Smile
12/23/2010 6:40:46 PM
Amanda Colwell United States
Amanda Colwell
Awesome story.   Merry Christmas to everyone, and may you always be blessed with peace and happiness!
12/24/2010 10:31:48 AM
BPunkt Germany
Very good story, thanks for sharing it.
I'm so glad and thankful to our Lord that we do not need to deal with war right now. At least, we are one nation in God.

Have a Merry Christmas wherever you are, celebrating His birthday...

Thank you, Jesus.
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