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Monday, December 24, 2012

Negotiating a Truce (at Christmas and for Other Special Occasions)

“There were calls for visits across the ‘no man’s land’ where small gifts [between enemies] were exchanged.”
— Wikipedia (“Christmas Eve”)
God can shatter seemingly insurmountable barriers where two enemies cooperate.
This fact was graphically illustrated when opposing sides—the British and the Germans—agreed to a one-day truce on Christmas Eve 1914. Troops on both sides were free to travel through the ‘no man’s land’ between their respective trenches, to retrieve the recent dead and bury them, to sing Christmas carols, and eventually to exchange small gifts with their opposing numbers.
These ‘enemies’ met at one, during just one day, to share in a common humanity under God.
As the soldiers did—their front-line commanding officers in cahoots—we can arrange a truce in Jesus’ name with those we have been warring with, or with those who have been warring with us.
This is no insignificant event to be achieved. For, differently to World War I, there may be the remote possibility of a revival between two warring parties. Isn’t it fascinating of all those we war with, family may feature centrally?
Coordinating a Truce
What might be impossible without bipartisan agreement is a blessing to all parties—not just the two protagonists—when it’s achieved.
It starts from us, shelving and disposing of any feeling for dissension. Some may say, “C’mon, it’s impossible to shelve and dispose of what we feel.” But we can use our minds to discipline our hearts in remaining open, for a defined period. In this we must trust ourselves, first and foremost.
A truce is not hard when it is for an hour or two, a day or a few. Coordinating a truce requires the magnanimity of grace; that we would forego our need for ‘respect’ in order that the relationship would have the fighting chance it needs.
If the relationship is important enough, a truce, again for a time, is possible. This is because we are prepared to commit. If the other person considers the relationship important enough they, too, will be prepared to commit something when they see visible signs of our commitment. It must begin with us. Our grace must reach them. And we must be prepared to go beyond foreseeable lengths in order to achieve such a truce.
We will obviously need the support of close loved ones on our side of things. Without such support we may create unforeseeable conflict, and even make matters worse with those we already have loyal arrangements with.
If those who have fought in a world war have been able to negotiate a temporary truce in order to celebrate the peace and goodwill of Christmas, surely we are able to as well. It takes both parties, however, for such a truce to gain legs strong enough to stand. Such a truce is a blessing not only for the protagonists, but for the whole family, and others beyond.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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