“I Heard the Bells” and etcetera

The song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” reminds me of Job when I read the following lines:

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.’

 

Reading these lines makes me depressed because it reminds me this is actually is the way it is. I feel the weight of those words. I know that despair, I’ve felt that hatred spewed against me, and I’ve experienced the mocking.

If I stop and dwell on it, it could be so depressing and pull me down so deep — I can see why people can fall in a pit of despair and stay there.

There is no other reason for any hope I can find in the world today except for Jesus and the hope he brings, which we celebrate at Christmas.

I don’t know where you might be – maybe struggling with a job, a career, finances, illness, depression, failed relationships, lost children, lost loved ones… maybe you are completely alone.  I have felt completely alone many times. The difficulties drive us to that place.

But for the grace of God, He pulls me up and I don’t stay there. Yes, it still may be mighty difficult, or downright outrageously horrible, and make absolutely no sense, but God is still God. He is still good. He is still on the throne, and though despair may cry into our ears and try to keep us down, God’s voice cries out even louder. He came to bring peace, the peace we long for, which is lacking in our world, in our lives, in our relationships, and even within us– He came to bring that. It starts in our hearts. Being at peace with God, coming to terms with the fact we are in need of His grace and gift of salvation, is where “peace on earth” begins. It begins with me, it begins with you.

Don’t get me wrong. Trying to be a peacemaker will not gain you applause or  popularity– not that I am suggesting that those are the goals. But if you think that somehow trying to live at peace with everyone in your life will create the state of tranquility and quietness you presume it will, on many occasions, it will not create the effect you hope it will. I do believe it can and does, but do not expect it to always work in the way you hope.

Believe it or not, people run away from it. And also, people will misunderstand what you are trying to do, who you are trying to be.

Even if you try to love – you will be rejected. Jesus loved. And guess what? He was rejected, over and over again.

It does not matter if you are right or wrong. Either way, you will be rejected. If Jesus was misunderstood, you and I will be misunderstood. I don’t like it, but I don’t have to like it– that isn’t the real issue. The real issue is my heart and how I will respond to what is happening.

If you have been stung by life, like Job, or because of difficult circumstances or relationships, it helps to remember that Jesus walked that very same road. It helps to remember that the bells ringing out on Christmas heralding a Savior, bringing hope to the world, sing louder than any other voice.

*

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day ~ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

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 th’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 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.’

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

 *
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