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.”
Sometimes, amidst the scandal and tragedy we read about in the news, amidst the personal trials we face, and the difficulties that befall our friends and loved ones, we can question the angels’ song, like the verse from this old favourite Christmas carol. Where is the Glory to God, where is the peace on earth that this heavenly multitude sang of?
The KJV of the Bible translated this verse “Peace on earth, and good will to men.” More modern translations, such as the NRSV or the ESV qualify just which “men” are the recipients of peace: “those with whom God is pleased.” Is that the problem? Maybe I haven’t pleased God enough to receive His peace? Sometimes in the midst of trials it can feel as though maybe God is not all that pleased with me; and it certainly hard to feel like I have not been one of the recipients of God’s peace.
Maybe what pleases God is seeing us reach out to Him, and asking for His peace in the midst of our trials. The ones who receive God’s peace are the ones who reach out and take it, who sing the song that brings them peace to their hearts even in the midst of those trials: Glory to God in the heavenly heights! Amidst the scandal, the trials and the difficulties of life, Christmas reminds us that it was a little baby boy who came to conquer death itself; and so too our challenges can be conquered by singing that song in our hearts, even when we may have to sing it through tears: Glory to God in the heavenly heights! No trial or difficulty can ever rob us of the peace we have from the angels’ song!
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.”