Peace on Earth

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I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Christmas should be a happy time. In its purest state, it should be a day of giving, of singing songs, and of surrounding oneself with the people who matter the most. It is a day of wonder for children—and for adults willing to admit that they are still children on the inside.

There is a sense of safety in the notion of Christmas. While all the world is unraveling before our eyes, deep down I believe that we all feel that on Christmas Day the curse is lifted, and nothing bad can possibly happen. On Christmas there is a kind of joy and warmth that does not exist on any other day of the year. It is this joy and warmth that has made Christmas such an enduring holiday, still sacred in an age regards nothing as being holy.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

But the world is a dark place. Despite what we might like to think, the world is not getting any better. In fact, it is devolving into depraved chaos brought about by man’s own machinations. We may try to convince ourselves that we’re doing all right: that science is advancing, that we are becoming more open-minded, or any number of hopeful platitudes. But a coat of paint on rotten wood does nothing to expel the termites. Things we would have thought unthinkable years ago are now front-page news. A madman mowing down children. A coward sniping firefighting heroes. Try as we might, we must admit that the world is a dark place, and it is growing steadily darker.

What causes this darkness? Sin. Mankind’s sin. We can’t escape it. We’re born with it. You don’t have to teach a toddler to grab a toy from his neighbor or to throw a fit. Those things come naturally. Any good behavior is learned. And it only grows worse as we grow older.

The result of sin? Evil. Murder. Rape. Abuse. Theft. Arson. Destruction. Death. All of the things that poison atmosphere of the world and make it the kind of place where we’re afraid to allow our children to even play in their own backyards. Or now, even to go to school, where there used to be safety in numbers.

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.”

I realize I am not painting a hopeful picture. Our world would really be devoid of hope, if it were not for one powerful Truth. This Truth arrived on Earth in the form of a helpless child born to an insignificant woman in an insignificant town in a seemingly insignificant country. A Child who would grow into a Man who would die at the hands of a twisted government for the sake of twisted people like you and like I. He alone could take away the cancer that grows on our souls and leave us free—free to hope for a bright and unending future.

And one day—get this—one day, He will eliminate the evil from the earth once and for all. This tiny Baby whose birth we celebrate tomorrow will come again, only this time not as a child, but as the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings. Illness, despair, wickedness, fear, and doubt disappear forever. Forever and ever. Then, and only then, there will be peace on earth and good will to men.

If that’s not a happy, hopeful ending, I’m not sure what is.

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.”

Tomorrow will be a blessed day. We have all been given such a remarkable Gift. God gave us the gift of hope on that first Christmas so many years ago. May you accept that gift this Christmas. Of all the gifts you give or receive tomorrow, God’s gift to you is the most precious, priceless, and everlasting.

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One response »

  1. The Dadster Ripostes:

    Yes, with Longfellow, we lament the status quo. The world is filled with hate, destruction, and envy at the success God has granted to others.

    But here is a truth sublime.

    Christ was born. He lived. He died a horrible death. He rose. He reigns. And He comes again.

    Injustice shall cease. Mercy, peace, and righteousness shall reign. This world shall see Him Whom they have pierced. And they shall weep.

    He shall sit upon the throne of David His father.

    He shall rule in righteousness.

    In His name, all oppression shall cease.

    Little ones shall no more fear.

    Women shall walk free from oppression.

    Simple and innocent men shall see their worlds freed from the horrors of this present age.

    Jerusalem shall glow resplendent with His glory.

    And we shall see Him as He is.

    “Hail! the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings,
    Risen with healing in His wings.
    Mild He lays His glory by,
    Born that man no more may die;
    Born to raise the sons of earth,
    Born to give them second birth
    Hark! the herald angels sing,
    ‘Glory to the newborn King'”

    Deo soli Gloria!

    Gloria in excelsis Deo!

    And Merry Christmas to the World!

    The Dadster

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