Peace On Earth-Advent 2015

poe 2

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men”! Luke 2:14

The time is 1864.

The Civil War that deeply divided the nation, has now raged on for four years. It is estimated that the dead on both sides by the time Mr. Longfellow penned the words to his poem exceeded 1,207,134 *

Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House is still five months away

The suffering and pain of the war was so great that Abraham Lincoln in 1863 proclaimed a National Fast Day with these words

“to rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace”.

As Mr. Longfellow heard the bells that inspired his poem, that peace Mr. Lincoln desired seemed very far away.

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.

I 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.

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.”

The last four lines capture in a very poignant way where we find our world this Christmas season of 2015.

We find war instead of peace, evil seems to increase and hate does indeed mock the notion of goodwill to men in so many ways. In a writing titled “Peace on Earth” Daphne Delay shares these words

“Yet, although more than a century has passed since Henry W. Longfellow struggled writing the lyrics to his now-famous song, we understand every word.

Like so many this time of year, his heart hurt with the despair, hatred, and horrors of war his eyes saw daily. However, regardless of these things there was something unseen which nudged his writing:

“And the bells are ringing… Peace On Earth…
Like a choir, they’re singing… Peace On Earth…
In my heart I hear them… Peace On Earth…”

With great compassion, God saw the condition of earth and made provision for change.”

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, and be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life” (John 3:16, Amplified).

In other words, Peace.

So despite the news and loss, peace is not only available, it is possible.

On that night over 2000 years ago the Prince of Peace the promised One, born in a humble manger arrived and the world was changed. Peace came to our world in the form of a little baby.

Despite the lack of peace in our world and those who bring hate that is strong we have hope. Hope that in a world where peace is often hard to find we can have the most important peaceĀ  “Of peace on earth, good will to men” peace with God made available through the death of His Son on the Cross. Colossians 1:20

We look to the words found in the last part of Mr. Longfellows poem.

Even in the despair he felt, he knew that peace will finally come. It will be found in that baby boy born so long ago, now the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who will come again!

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.”

 

 

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/Devotions/delay-peaceonearth-christmas.aspx

*http://www.brcweb.com/alplm/BRC_Counting_Casualties.pdf

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