Peace on Earth?
Many of you are familiar with the words to the Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Morn”. I learned yesterday that the original poem which comprise the lyrics to this song were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the famous poet. These words were born out of the tragic death of his wife and then the death of a son from a Civil War wound. The last two verses of the poem are printed below:
And in despair I bowed my head; ”There is no peace on earth,” I said; ”For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ”God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Our worship team did this song on Christmas morning and I was reduced to something slightly more stable than a puddle of “goo”…which is not a great thing when you have to pray after the song is over! I was overcome by the contrast of these last two stanzas. I began to think of all those who experience the words, “For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth goodwill to men”. We have so many who have no peace…who suffer immeasurable pain at the hands of others…for whom there seems to be no peace. And then the next verse thunders back, “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth good will to men!” Praise God for the truth of those words. I cannot explain the suffering of this world but I choose to believe in the One who suffered as well, my Savior, Jesus Christ. I choose to believe that He will right all the wrongs. I choose to believe that He stands ready and willing to minister and help those who cry out to Him from deepest despair.
Yes, there can be peace on earth in the midst of war. There can be peace on earth in the midst of suffering. God is not dead and He does not sleep. There are now 364 more days to the next Christmas to shout with our words and our deeds, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men..through Jesus Christ”!!!