Christmas Bells

(Luke 2:14)  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

We sigh for a future when God’s peace will rule this earth.  We accept the conflict around us as the circumstances of our times.  We look with sarcasm at those who proclaim this verse every Christmas.  Surrounded by personal tragedies, national uncertainty and war, it becomes easier to believe the hand of God is withdrawn.  The truth of this verse seems so far away from where we live here and now.

“”How inexpressibly sad are all holidays…Perhaps someday God will give me peace,” a man wrote shortly after his wife died in a tragic fire.  Then, his young son was critically wounded fighting in a war that was claiming thousands of young Americans.  Where is the God of peace in the midst?  Grief consumed him during those years.  This man was the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Finally, light dawned and in 1864 he penned the words to the poem “Christmas Bells” which has since become a standard carol sung by millions every year.  The verses convey everything we feel this time of year when confronted with life.  Yet in the last verses, this man who bore the scars of heartbreak was able to assert “God is not dead; nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With Peace on earth, good will to men”  The bells of Christmas served as a reminder to him that God’s purpose in Christ and His presence were still very much alive and in the midst.

Where there is Christ, there is peace.  Christ lives in us today.  He is our peace.  No conflict or tragedy can remove us from Him or Him from us.  In Colossians 3:15, the Apostle Paul penned these words, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts..”  The God Who came down to an earthly birth, live an earthly life, and die an earthly death only to rise in glorious resurrection is here today!  Can you hear the Christmas bells today?  As long as they ring, we are reminded of Emmanuel – “God with us” and the love and presence of  God in us.

Renewed Thought – The God of peace gives us the peace of God – “glory to God in the highest!”

Here are the words to the Christmas carol “Christmas Bells.”  It is an abbreviated version of the original poem which had references to the Civil War.  As a bonus, then check out the great rendition released by Casting Crowns: I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

I heard the belIs 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.’

Then pealed the beIls 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’.