Peace On Earth

Are these words written by Henry Longfellow appropriate for today?

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet their words repeat 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.'”

September 11, made a mockery of those words. In addition to the events of that day being an attack on every American they were an affront to the one the ancient prophets said would be “The Prince of Peace.” Where is the peace spoke of by angels at the birth of Jesus Christ? Their words of “Peace on earth good will to men” reverberate with unfulfilled hope.

As with all movements disciples of the master often disgrace their master. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Pope looking the other way when Hitler and Mussolini were at work with his knowledge are examples.

The Prince of Peace promised a special blessing on the peacemaker. That is a worthy aspiration.

This season gives occasion for inspiring words of songs such as these to be heard:
“Sleep in heavenly peace…”

“Praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth.”

“All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace.”

“Pray for peace people everywhere…”

That angelic presaging of peace on earth has been misunderstood to be a prophecy of peace. It is not a prophecy of peace but a prescription for peace found in a person, the “Prince of Peace.” It is sung of in the thrilling carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:” “Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.”

It was as though by divine revelation Longfellow continued to write his verse:

“Then peals the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor does He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”

This peace is not contingent on an external status but an internal condition. It is a peace that passes understanding. It is based on an awareness that all things might not be OK but that you are alright. It belongs to those who have established a gratifying lifestyle and settled the issue of their eternal destiny by coming to terms with the Prince of Peace. They live in a win – win condition.

There is a dynamic spiritual thread running through all this. Many don’t think it is PC to be spiritual. Since September 11 people have become more aware of the frailty of life and finality of death. PC is brushed aside and raw reality faced. It is summed up in the expression, “I am mortal and need to consider my immortal state in time and for eternity.” Once settled then the peace that passes understanding is experienced. Peace!