Today is December 24, 2017, Christmas Eve, and America seems more divided than ever in its 241-year history. Politics are polarizing. Race is polarizing. Socioeconomic status is polarizing. Almost every issue appears to be a hot-button problem that needs radical surgery to fix. Why must we all take the stance that if you do not believe, look, feel, sound, etc. the way I do then we must be enemies? These all or nothing attitudes only alienate our fellow man, and in 2017, debate and diplomacy are not in our repertoire or vocabulary. To debate is to put forth logical arguments for or against an issue without resorting to anger or bullying. In the highly charged environment of social media and 24-hour news cycles, if someone does not agree with the position taken; instead of providing logical well thought out arguments, bullying techniques are used to shut down further discussion.
Christmas should be a time for peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but it seems it is just another event assaulted with politically charged rhetoric. In 1914, during some of the bloodiest battles of World War I, Christmas that year was marked by something very unique in the annals of warfare. For several days, a Christmas truce was declared, and previous enemies came together in the No Man’s Land between the trenches.The British, French, and German soldiers exchanged mementos, cigarettes, food, and were allowed to bury their fallen comrades. It may have only been a brief respite for those soldiers, but it allowed each side to see the humanity of the other and showed the world that even in a time of catastrophic conflict, enemies could come together and share a moment of peace.
Christmas should not be a time of anger, frustration, or disdain for our fellow man, but should be a time to come together in peace and understanding. Words of hate and hurt should not be used as ammunition against those we disagree. We should use words as a way to bridge the gap of understanding and meet our adversaries in that No Man’s Land that is our own prejudices and fears.
May we all declare a Christmas Truce in 2017 and come together in the love and peace of Christ and share the goodness of the season with everyone we meet.