It’s Christmas but Where is Peace on Earth?

It’s Christmastime, but where is peace on Earth? Will peace on Earth ever be attained? Christmas is a beautiful time of year, without a doubt. Family and friends get together. Decorations enlighten the mundane. Traditions of old warm our hearts in the cold of winter.  All around us we are bombarded with the things of the season: lights, candy canes, snowflakes, reindeer, Christmas trees, carols, a hot cup of cocoa and the crackling yule log. But for some, and unfortunately many, this time of year is not merry and far from holly jolly. Families fight, relationships break, illness rages on, things are taken, things are stolen, and the ghost of Christmas Past may gift the burdensome memories of painful holidays gone by.

We turn to our distractions in life and what do we find? bad habits, violence, and darkness. News coming from all around us at all angles shows a world in desperate need, broken. So, peace on Earth, where is it? Will it ever be attained? The truth is there is peace on Earth. It is here. It has been gifted. It is evident even in the most difficult of situations: It’s on the smile of a woman’s face when the cancer treatments just aren’t enough. It’s in the man who resolves to find hope when his only son, whom he was so proud of, has died. It’s in the trust of a family who has lost its home. It is unfathomable joy in the midst of hardships.

The Peace on Earth we hear about at Christmas is the peace in our hearts, only possible through the gift of Jesus whose sacrifice has the profound ability to calm our hearts, bringing hope in despair, peace in turmoil, wisdom in the midst of folly, joy in sorrow, and strength in weakness. It contradicts the very ways of the world and brings us peace to our innermost being.

We hear this phrase “Peace on Earth” at Christmastime primarily because of the scripture of Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” If we look at the original Greek translation we see the word for peace is eirḗnē. The root of this word is eirō, which is “to join, tie together into a whole” – properly, wholeness, when all the parts have come together. Just as the birth of Jesus brings wholeness to ancient prophecies so does Jesus restore our relationship with God bringing wholeness to our souls.

The reason why there is so much gloom and sorrow in our world, even at Christmastime, is because man’s relationship with God has been broken and made incomplete because of sin. This brokenness is not God’s intent for us. Sin has marred us and separates us from a perfect and just God. But God sent his only son Jesus into this world to carry the burden of sin and sacrifice himself, paying the price to restore our relationship with God. We must acknowledge our sorry state of sin, ask for forgiveness, and accept this incredible gift of Jesus as our Savior.

So does Jesus alleviate our sickness, restore our human relationships, take away our sadness and trouble? He certainly can, and we certainly ask him to, but regardless of our petitions, even the most devoted Christians must face hardships, illness, loss, and grief. This Peace on Earth is our ability to face these difficult worldly troubles with an unwavering stance of joy, hope, and trust that calms our souls amidst the chaos.

Despite what the world takes away from us or plagues us with, the singular most important thing, and fountain of all goodness in our lives, is our restored relationship with God. Because of this there is a peace about our future. We know God will provide and we know this world is but a temporary place. This calms our hearts as we have the assurance of eternity in God’s presence. We know that the powers of darkness in this world shall not be victorious in the end. God has already won the battle. We also have a peace about our identity. In a world that tries so hard to categorize and confuse people, in which people obsess about how they are perceived and the status they behold, we have a clear understanding of whom we are as children of God. We are loved, cared for, designed, and granted purpose. 

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you know this Peace and you know how precious and powerful it is. You’ve experienced the hardships of life in a quietude and resolve the world does not comprehend. So this Christmas celebrate this Peace without reserve, share your story with others as it is powerful, and thank God for He is truly good. If you do not know Jesus, may you begin to ask questions and seek answers. You may be in a place and time in life in which you cannot find peace in the world around you, but know you can behold the most divine and powerful of Peace on Earth in your heart this Christmas.

“I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

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.”

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.”

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864;  “Christmas Bells.”

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