Sunday, 22 November 2009

Lest we forget.

I was in a restaurant with my sister celebrating her birthday. A busy place, it was filled with the noise of tinkling cutlery, clinking cups, and conversation. But in moment, a hush fell over the place. Conversations ended, and people stopped fidgeting. This unrehearsed act of respect took place when the radio cut out to the sound of a bugle sounding out "The Last Post" on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. A myriad of unrelated strangers collectively paused and payed respect to the sacrifice of life that had bought our freedom and ended World War I 81 years ago.

Now, the signing of the Armistice did not prevent World War II, nor did it prevent Canadian soldiers from being involved in several other missions since. I cannot even imagine the disappointment and frustration of the WWI veterans when Canada went to war on a global scale a second time, just 21 years later. One generation was all it took for the treaty to be breached - the children of the veterans would now be going to war. For both of those generations, that must have been horrifying. The more I thought about this, the more I wished that the Armistice would have been once and for all.

And the more I got thinking about that "once for all", the more I was reminded of... Christmas. I thought of the war that has raged through the ages, between good and evil; between love and hate; between freedom and bondage. And my heart was touched again by how this God of heaven became flesh and dwelt among us, led us by example in His life, and paid the price for sin with His death.

Seems too good to be true, doesn't it?

Now neither the crucifixion of Jesus, nor His resurrection in 3 days, put an end to bloodshed on earth. Battles still rage in the same war that started in the beginning. But the promise of that event ensured the future; the war was already won.

So on November 11th, I remembered the soldiers who lost and risked their lives for my freedom; the apples of God's eye that Evil sought to destroy; the civilians who were brave enough to risk all that they had to bring freedom to the persecuted, and who rose against the invaders of their lands. I remember them... and I am thankful.

I remember also that this very hour, there are places on this earth that Evil still reigns, that soldiers still die, that people are still persecuted, and civilians still act with immeasurable bravery.

And most of all, as Christmas is now upon us, I remember that the tears and the trials and the pain of this life are all temporary. For a long time ago, a baby was born of a virgin and was laid in a manger. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. By His stripes we are healed. Lest we forget.

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