Three weeks later, on Christmas Day, 1863, Henry was overwhelmed by loss. He was a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of whom had been nearly killed or paralyzed as he fought for a country that was at war with itself. To capture the way he felt, Henry wrote these 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... But then, in contrast, he wrote - 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."
Sometimes, I feel like Longfellow. People are trying to be merry, but is there really so much to be merry about? We have wars in Ukraine and in Israel? Everything is expensive. People care more about their political views than their faith and morals. Longtime family members and friends are no longer with us. Violence and crime are rampant, making folks afraid to leave their homes. Mental health is at an all-time low, despite all of our technological advances. But no one seems to care. Businesses take advantage of the season. Traffic is bad, and tempers are on edge. Family members are estranged from one another, and often, reconciliation seems impossible. In these desperate times, we may ask ourselves, does God really care?"
Yes, He sees and knows everything that is happening and He cares very much.
Sometimes, we face the same overwhelming despair Henry Wadsworth Longfellow must have felt. But we haven't yet heard the end of the poem. Even in his despair, he continued to write, "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."We can rejoice because God is alive. He loves us. His righteousness will prevail. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. And one day, we will spend eternity with Him, where the Bible says that "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain." Hallelujah. Merry Christmas and peace on earth, and goodwill to men.