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
I Heard the Bells, Part Two
In this world we live in, joy and sorrow sometimes comingle. The utter hushed beauty of the manger, of God extending grace to mankind, is difficult to separate from a cruel death on a cross.
Mr. Longfellow wrote the above words the year after the most devastating battle in North America occurred. The Battle of Gettysburg saw casualties exceeding 23,000. It’s understandable that Longfellow wrote in verse three, “In despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.” And yet, something good emerged from this horrifying conflict — a “new birth of freedom,” spoken of by one of America’s most beloved presidents in a speech addressing this very battle.
Battles, whether personal or global, are bound to bring emotions of confusion, uncertainty and anguish. I don’t pretend to have experienced a time like the Civil War, or to say that good always comes from trials. But when things seem bleak, I find comfort in these beautiful, profound old words: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.” And one day, He will extend His grace to mankind once more. His Son will return to earth, and after He does, something both tender and permanent will happen. Revelation 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
This Christmas, as we celebrate the Savior’s birth, we can find hope in looking ahead to the rest of His story.