Two families living side by side in the mountains of Kentucky had been fighting and quarreling for years. The feud started when Grandfather Smith’s cow jumped over the stone fence of Grandfather Brown and ate his corn. Brown shot the cow. Then one of the Smith boys shot one of the Brown boys, in fact, two of them, while the Browns had shot only one of the Smiths.
Bill, the oldest of the Brown family, decided to even up matters, especially since it was his own father who had been killed. But Bill was called away to war. While he was away his mother had a hard time providing for the family.
One Christmas the head of the Smith family took his wife and children to church. Usually he stayed outside, but it was so cold he decided to go in and wait. The sermon was on Christ, the Prince of Peace. It struck Smith’s heart. On his way home he passed the home of the Browns and he began to realize what a crime he had committed in killing the breadwinner. He prayed. He did more. He determined secretly to help them. He hired a small boy to carry a basket of food to the Browns every day.
When Bill came home, and heard of this kindness, he decided to find out who the generous helper was. He followed the little boy—to the door of Smith’s house. He could not believe his eyes. When Smith answered his knock, he smiled and declared: “Shoot me, Bill, if you want to.”
But Bill said he had come to thank him for taking care of his family while he was gone. Then Smith explained to Bill how he had come to a change of heart. He had heard the story of the first Christmas, the story of the Prince of Peace. It changed him.
Christmas causes us to humble ourselves – just as Christ humbled himself when he left the glories of heaven to come into our world, to live a simple life in an obscure village in Nazereth.
Phil. 2:5-8“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation,and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Christmas is all about changing people’s hearts from sin towards God. When people encounter the Prince of Peace, it changes them from hatred to love, from anger to forgiveness, from hopelessness to hope and peace.