Peace on earth. Doesn’t that sound nice? Can you imagine a world that is . . . peaceful?
At the core of our beings, this is what we all deeply long for. Wouldn’t it be great of everyone everywhere could just find a way to live in peace with one another?
Yet, at least in this world, it is so unattainable. Just check your news feed to see evidence of that.
So how can the angels speak of ‘peace on earth, good will to men’ in a world that only seems to be getting more and more out of control?
In the midst of the American Civii War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lamented this lack of peace in his poem, Christmas Bells. In this poem, which has since been set to music and become a beloved song, Longfellow states that in spite of this beautiful promise of Scripture, there does not truly seem to be any peace on earth:
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!”
It doesn’t take much to see that in this crazy world of ours, hate continues to be strong.
Hate has found it’s way into everything we do.
Hate has even found a way into fighting each other over chicken restaurants.
Hate has found a way into our cars. We can’t even drive to the grocery store without exchanging some amount of road rage hatred with someone we probably don’t even know.
Hate has found it’s way into our homes, our jobs, our relationships.
Hate is indeed strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth.
Yet, isn’t that what Satan has always done? Hasn’t he always worked to make a mockery of all that is good, all that is Godly, all that will bring peace?
Longfellow ends his poem on a different note:
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.”
This is what we believe.
That we live as strangers on this earth.
That as believers, we are citizens of a Kingdom where there is nothing but peace, doing our best to live out that citizenship in a fallen chaotic world.
That the struggles of this life are not are that there is.
That through Christ, Creation will be restored.
That Peace and Good Will can once and for all triumph over evil, and that there will indeed be Peace on Earth.