Watching the news this morning, I heard more about the attack at OSU yesterday and the fires in Gatlinburg. We’re almost numb to it these days. There’s enough chaos in the world to provide the news with continuous streaming. And while I don’t think we should let these stories shake us to the core, they sometimes linger over our lives. It’s hard to pass a day without hearing of some tragedy.
My favorite Christmas carol is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, for the very simple reason that it focuses on a profound truth that carries through generations. See Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the lyrics in a poem during the Civil War. As time passed, some of the stanzas were removed and his writing became a carol, but the essence of the piece still holds.
It starts with him hearing the bells tolling for Christmas, but for Longfellow Christmas seemed rather distant. In response, he bows his head and says “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” See, Longfellow understood suffering. He had witnessed the turmoil and pain of a nation, much like our world today.
But the lyrics thankfully don’t stop there.
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.”
Especially, this time of year, let’s remember God enacts His plan despite evil in the world. After all, He sent His son to die in the hands of men. He is also capable of using the chaos around us.
And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.