This was the song I replayed most often on my “Mercy Me” Christmas album as I drove around town this past week. (Unless, of course, my 12-year-old daughter was with me, in which case we were “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”) It was a familiar carol. But I seemed to hear the lyrics in a new way this year.
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.”
Something about this particular verse really resonated with me. And that was before the terrible events unfolded yesterday at a Connecticut elementary school, interrupting Christmas preparations and shattering a quiet community’s peace. I can’t stop thinking about the parents whose children’s beds lay empty last night.
It is easy to despair.
Christmas carols seem jarringly out of place in the face of such grief and devastation. Hate is strong and mocks these songs. Peace on earth? Good will to men?
Where are you, God?
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.”
At times like this we need the message of Christmas more than ever.
God is very much alive. He sees. He knows. He cares.
Jesus came to bring us peace with God, with others, with ourselves.
He is our only Hope.
And the babe that once lay helpless in a manger will return, with fire in His eyes and judgment in His hand.
He will fix this broken world. He will right all that is wrong. He will triumph over evil.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Newtown, our nation, and our world need You this Christmas.
*Lyrics from “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1867.