Hundreds killed at a time in terrorist attacks. Girls kidnapped from their own school by radicals who see women as lesser than men. Bombs that can silence millions of beating hearts in a split second.
Countries divided, households divided, people divided, anger, pain, heartache....
...where is the peace?
It's what so many people seek. For thousands of years, humans have looked in many different directions to try to find peace.
Attempts have been made to create utopia- perfection on earth. Most have failed miserably and ended only after even more suffering and death, all in the name of "peace".
This is the season where "peace on earth, goodwill toward men" is proclaimed more loudly than ever. But one look at the news, and it is tempting to feel like we are as far from that concept as we have ever been.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet, wrote a famous poem which asked this very question. It was Christmas Day in 1864, the Civil War still raging across America. Longfellow's own son had been wounded in battle. For years, American sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers were wounding and killing each other, their countrymen. If you were ever to feel that peace was no more, I believe that seeing your own people fight against each other would do the trick.
Longfellow puts into words the cry of millions of people.
But, how shall the Right prevail? From where do we find the peace on earth?I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
- and wild and sweet
- The words repeatOf 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 songOf peace on earth, good-will to men!Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
- A voice, a chime,
- A chant sublimeOf peace on earth, good-will to men!Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
- And with the sound
- The carols drownedOf peace on earth, good-will to men!It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
- And made forlorn
- The households bornOf peace on earth, good-will to men!And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
- "For hate is strong,
- And mocks the songOf 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."
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulders. And his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)Christmas is the celebration of when the Prince of Peace came down to our violent and heart-wrenching world, and brought peace.
Peace; it does not come from us. It does not come from the things that we do. Peace can only come from Jesus. And He did not stay up in heaven where He was far away and unreachable. The Prince of Peace came down to where we are.
Where is the peace on earth? It is right here--in my heart--in the heart of every Christian on planet Earth. The Prince of Peace came down to be among us, and he still dwells here in the hearts of his people. And with the peace that dwells in our hearts, we may go out and bring "goodwill toward men".
Peace to you all this Christmas season.
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Read the full story of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
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