Christmas has come and gone, and there was no peace on earth. Did you notice? War carried on in the middle east, folks—near and far, known and unknown—died, earthquakes happened and other political turmoil ensued. But did God ever really promise peace on earth? “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” from Luke 2:14 KJV sure sounds like it, but not so fast…
The NASB is the most literal translation of Luke 2:14 and it reads, “And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased”. I am clarifying this since many of us tout the King James version of “on earth peace” hence, “peace on earth”. This belief is further perpetuated with the very commonly used Christmas themes and carols.
This whole idea of “peace on earth” has been on my mind ever since I heard the back story of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day in last week’s service. Pastor shared how God is not as much about peace on earth as He is in offering peace to all men through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The author of this poem-turned-hymn, is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who lost his wife, the mother of his six children, when she caught fire in a freak accident. His eldest returned home from the Civil War battlefield paralyzed. How sad and difficult his life became after those two life-changing events.
This avid journaler wrote entries of despair in his journal for many Christmases following the incidents and there were holidays he wrote nothing. He eventually went on to pen the words I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. You see, in time peace came to his hurting heart.
This is really what Luke 2:14 is saying—peace is not for earth, God’s peace is for people, His people. This is the only way peace comes to earth. One by one, we accept the Prince of Peace, and we allow His peace to settle on us in every situation, even when it takes a long time. Do you hear the bells ringing?
I’ve fallen in love with this song that has been slightly altered over the years. This version of I Heard the Bells Ringing on Christmas Day is by Casting Crowns.
I know it is no longer the weekend, since you will be receiving this by email if you are a subscriber, but since it was a holiday, I am hoping you will receive this via email during your extended holiday. Now, for my latest prayer journaling video. I’ve been watching the hand of God move and I want to share it with you…
Gina Duke is the award-winning author of Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press), that introduces the gift of structured prayer journaling. You can enjoy her weekly #ShePrayerJournals weekend workshops on YouTube, and follower her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheGinaDuke.