Peace on Earth?
I’ve been listening to the song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” on repeat. I can’t seem to get enough of it. While it’s never been a favorite of mine, it is for my childhood best friend, so I’ve always been endeared to it.
This year more than ever I’ve paid attention to how relatable these words are:
“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.”
Those words in the modern rendition by Casting Crowns are followed by a choir beautifully singing, “Peace on Earth” repeatedly. My heart pauses with the message of Peace on Earth.
What is peace to you? A starry night? A gentle stream? A quiet house? The sound of waves lapping the shore? What visual comes to mind?
I would venture a guess that your first thought of peace is not the aftermath of a house fire, an ill child, the death of a spouse, or a country at war. Yet, that was the backdrop of the original lyrics by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In fact, following that house fire, HWL grew a beard to hide his own disfigurement from the fire that took his most beloved wife.
Even the word “peace” somehow sounds peaceful, but look around you. Would you describe what you see as peace on earth?
At the core of our human nature is the opposite of peace – conflict, strife, trouble, turmoil, unrest, upheaval—similar to that verse in the song. “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:6
As the song continues, there is a resolve:
“Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail the right prevail
With Peace on earth, good will to men.”
While we see the antithesis of peace around us, we read that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6-7) He is our Peace; and His peace is described as great, surpassing all understanding, abundant, constant.
The truth is that peace doesn’t come from what’s going on around us; it comes from what’s going on inside us. Which is why because of Jesus we can be at complete peace in the midst of utter chaos. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” – Isaiah 26:3
May peace rule in your heart this Christmas season and beyond.