Written in 1863, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, the poem by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow is one of my favorite Christmas carols.
It brings to mind other poems. Ancient poems. Poems composed by a shepherd boy and warrior king. A man who spent much of his life – running for his life. A man who knew very little peace.
King David cries out to God in his psalms. Many of which God chose to include in the Book of Psalms. David is honest about his anger and his suffering.
Longfellow wrote his poem during a time of great despair. The Civil War was raging. He had lost his wife in a house fire and his son was badly wounded in battle.
Longfellow’s poem, like David’s psalms, states the truth about our world: “For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Like many of David’s psalms, Longfellow’s poem ends with transformative Truth.
When men repent and turn from sin
The Prince of Peace then enters in,
And grace imparts within their hearts
His peace on earth, good will to men.
It reminds us that true peace comes only from Jesus, our Prince of Peace. This is how it works, Beloved. God became like us so that we could become like Him.
If we want a world of peace and good will, and we do, then we must first try to be peaceful and good ourselves.
So my prayer for you, and for myself this Christmas is every day, from this day forth, to become more like Jesus.
Blessings on your Christmas!