December 9, 2014


Isaiah 26:3-4, John 14:23-27The Missing Peace?
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

On December 25, 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words to a poem he simply entitled Christmas Bells. As he wrote the melancholy words,

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

the Civil War raged, his son was severely wounded on the battlefield, and it had only been a little over two years since his beloved wife, Frances, had died in a tragic accident. On the first Christmas after losing her, he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.” Six months later he wrote, “I can make no record of these days. Better to leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace.”

Indeed, the very idea of “peace on earth” – proclaimed by the angels upon Christ’s birth and echoed by the church bells Longfellow heard on that Christmas Day in 1864 – seemed like a terrible joke. Shrouded in gloom, he lamented:

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, goodwill to men!”

Fortunately, his poem did not end there. For somehow the Christmas bells that morning reminded Longfellow of a deeper truth urging him to declare:

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, goodwill to men!”

With these words, we know Longfellow rediscovered God is the only source of peace. His prayer for peace a few years earlier had been answered by the Prince of Peace.

If peace is eluding you and anxiety spills over in your life, choose to trust God. Choose to put your hand in his and draw on his patience and wisdom as you take each step. He will guide you through the maze of life if you ask him to. Choosing to trust God with those blind corners in your life will take you down the road to peace. Choosing not to trust him will take you down the road to stress and worry. The peace Jesus offered in John 14:27 is there for the choosing still today.

Personalize Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV) like this and let it be the prayer that will help get you through this hectic time of year: "God will keep me in perfect peace as my mind focuses on him and trusts in him. True peace hinges on my trust in God. He is my rock.”