Peace on earth, goodwill to men

Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men

The world seems as though it’s going to hell in a hand-basket lately. A new shooting every day, race wars, and violence against women and children, all in our own backyard. People have felt the world is going to hell for hundreds of years, because it is. It has been for quite some time now {remember that incident with an apple?}

Every new day is a day closer to Jesus’ coming. The end times are near, but as Christians, as professors of our faith, we do not need to live in fear. We can stand strong, bold in the knowledge that despite the world’s chaos, our God remains forever in control. That no thing can happen without Him.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men

I just finished a book called Christmas Bells {by Jennifer Chiaverini}, in which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s story during the Civil War was told. While reading the poem I noticed something very different from the Christmas carol we’re all familiar with: Two stanzas in the middle {highlighted in bold} that are not in the carol.

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!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
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.”

One-hundred-fifty-two years ago people felt just as we do now…that the world is a horrible place, that it was all coming undone. But just as Longfellow hoped to remind people, I home to remind you, because it’s still true:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

God is not dead. He’s not asleep. We live in a fallen world. A world brimming over with evil, but God is still here. He has already won. Jesus has conquered death. We, as believers in Jesus’ resurrection, do not need to cower in the darkness, afraid of what the next moment may bring for us or our loved ones.

If you happen to hear this old carol at some time in the next few weeks I hope you think of those missing stanzas and how a whole nation felt as lost and hopeless as we do now, but more importantly I hope you think on the last verse and clutch it close to your heart. Holding tight to the truths Longfellow penned so long ago: God is not dead, He will prevail…He already has.



  1. Thanks, Jessica. I appreciate your thoughts on God’s presence. I read Longfellow’s poem some years ago and remember the stanzas in the middle. I also remember some of the background story, Longfellow’s pain and anxiety over the injury his son had experienced in the war.

    We live today – several years after you wrote this blog – in a time when things look just as bleak, our young men fighting a war we hardly hear about any more. So many homeless on our streets. Drugs destroying a generation. Political craziness.

    I take comfort as you did in the truth captured in the last stanza of the poem. God is not dead. He reigns now as he has always.

    Thank you. Blessings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *