Blog #546 Christmas – I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Christmas Reflection – part II Peace on Earth, Good will to Men.

Yesterday I wrote of Handel’s Messiah – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – today is a bit more somber.

But, sometimes I’m like Henry W. Longfellow’s lyrics “I heard the bells on Christmas Day”

  • I heard the bells on Christmas day
    Their old familiar carols play;
    In music sweet the tones repeat,
    “There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”

  • I thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
    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 does He sleep,
    For Christ is here; His Spirit near
    Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”

Now, I hear strident voices screaming at me from all sides.  “We are right; you are wrong”; Christianity is divided / The country is divided politically.
– Evangelicals drawing boundaries – who is good and who is not – (who is going to be ‘saved’ because they are the only true Christians out there);
– Traditional Protestants trying hard to remain relevant and in that process antagonizing the Evangelicals by accepting ‘sinners’ into the midst (like Lesbians, Gays, Transgender);
– Catholics also standing by also trying to be relevant (but saying, “We really do go back to Jesus and the first Pope was Peter, all the rest of you broke off from US – plus we have the true miracle of John chapter 6 as Jesus says my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink);

-And even my Jewish friends trying to balance their traditions and beliefs against eating bacon.  (Okay, oversimplification on almost all of this.)

With some knowledge of history, some of our ancestors had slaves (and viewed them as less than humans); some said “no alcohol’ and even get a constitutional amendment passed to ban alcohol; others were on the ‘wet’ side.  Humans/mankind are pretty much able to hate very well and not good at loving and forgiving!!

Longfellow was correct as he wrote, “For Hate is strong and mocks the song of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men”. 

As I get more into my senior years, I find I “hate” hate – I don’t want to ‘hate’ anybody; I don’t want to judge anybody – after all, who am I to “play” God?  I don’t know how God is going to handle Heaven. All I ‘know’ (and I really will not truly ‘know’) is that He is in charge, not me.

Let me throw in one last verse: “When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)

I am 71, I am retired – and someday in the future, I am going to die.  I firmly believe there is (a) an omnipotent being behind everything, and (b) He (or She) is in charge – and definitely not me.  Maybe I’m crazy but, I need to seek for Him. And … above all, I am definitely NOT perfect (not even close) and not worthy for heaven (whatever that is).  (All I know about heaven, is that there is as much ice cream and peanut butter as anybody could want!!!)

Merry Christmas


Posted by Bruce White

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