One hundred years ago, my great-great-grandfather was stationed in France hoping and praying that the war would soon be over. Like millions of others, he had endured the worst of man’s inhumanity to man.
When the armistice came in November 1918, two voices seemed to ring clear: ‘the Germans must pay’, and ‘never again!’. No-one seemed to realise that these two desires were mutually exclusive. The peace lasted barely twenty years, and the horrors of the second world war were even greater than the first.
In this issue of the magazine, you’ll read the incredible story of a man who was saved by God’s Word during the first world war — but not in the way you imagine! But more importantly we’ll remember not just the armistice, but God’s greater plan of peace that humanity began to glimpse at the first Christmas, with articles from Adrian Reynolds on a rags to riches story, to Jonny Raine’s reflections on Emmanuel, and Lis Rowe’s poem on the night before Christmas. Meanwhile, Maggie Hughes writes poignantly of coping with Christmas after the loss of her husband of fifty years, leaning on the everlasting arms of God.
Christmas is also one of the few times when churches find people are glad to come to church — and three churches share with us how they’ve attempted to make the most of that opportunity. We pray it will encourage you in your Christmas outreach.
There’s plenty more, of course with everything from welcome news of Christian outreach in the Arab world, to how the church can respond to family and social breakdown, as well as reflection on how we can become more like Jesus.
As always, our prayer is that this issue of the magazine will do your soul good. Why not make that your prayer — for yourself and for other readers — before you dive in?