I saw a good movie the other day. Joyeux Noël—Merry Christmas based on a real event that happened in World War I. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film 2006.
On Christmas Eve 1914, in the middle of the war on German-occupied French land the members of British, French and German armies who were dug out in trenches made a spontaneous truce that lasted for a few days. The soldiers agreed to lay down their guns and came out of the trenches to greet each other, bury the dead, and exchange chocolates and other gifts. The movie version offered a priest who led the troops in a Latin Mass. I was touched by the statement he made in the movie the day after the events of the extraordinary night of peace. The priest made the comment, "Tonight, these men were drawn to that altar like it was a fire in the middle of winter. Even those who aren't devout came to warm themselves, maybe just to be together, maybe just to forget about the war."
As I sat and took in these words, I was reminded that faith creates a warm fire for souls. I had to ask myself, "Who is warmed by the fire of your faith? Is the church you attend a place where souls are drawn to the warm fire?" Too often both Christians themselves and houses of worship seem cold and distant from what is happening in the world.
I felt challenged to tend the fire of my own faith to discover why I don’t put out more warmth. 1 Peter 1:7 helps us see the importance of our faith. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. "These things" to which he is refers are the trials that we face while we live on earth. Trials are the fires that purify our faith. If you want to be a warm fire in the world, you must have faith that has been tested by the fire of trial. When you go through trials they bring you to purer degrees of faith.
Are Christians today too fat and happy and just living exactly like the world? Has the warmth of the fire that should be in our souls been quenched by the way we have attached too deeply to this world? Ask God to start a fire in you to become an opportunity for others to warm themselves.