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  • Grace A. Johnson

peace on earth


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!”


“Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

let me tell you about peace

she said, as her voice wavered

let me tell you about the day

peace should have evaded me

the day my heart nearly stopped

and my lifeblood slowed

and despair should have reigned


let me tell you about peace

the peace I had when I had nothing else

the peace that overcame the deafening clamor

the aching pain and stinging tears

the peace that I could not fathom

but that I reveled in

as it washed over me


let me tell you about peace

that continues to sing

and rings throughout all the earth

when the enemy seeks to wreak havoc

and chaos and strife

a peace that cannot be stolen

or defeated by fear and anxiety


let me tell you about peace

it comes from above

as every good and perfect gift does

it covers and protects

it fights for and defends

the tender depths of your heart and mind

from the darts of the evil one


let me tell you about peace

one you can possess

the moment you lay your heart to rest

as the throne of peace’s Prince

the moment He takes you by the hand

and leads you into His precious presence

the very spirit of peace

I could have celebrated Christmas without my grandmother this year. My mother and her brothers could have been without their mom. All because of one totally unexpected moment, when my nana had a heart attack on Christmas Eve last year. Something so common that it happens about 805,000 times a year, that some people experience it two or three times in their life. And yet something so dangerous, so fatal, so strong, so merciless...that it could have easily stolen her life and, in the process, forever changed our lives and the entire tri-county area (and that is no exaggeration).

But even through a heart attack, through a painful and shocking brush with death, through a helicopter flight out of state, through watching her children and grandchildren sob in the hospital parking lot…

Nana had peace.

“Let me tell you about peace,” she said on December 23rd, 2022—a day she might not have made it to. A day the devil wanted to keep her from.

“Let me tell you about peace. The peace I had, knowing that if I died that day, I would be with the Lord...and if I survived, I would live many more days doing what He called me to do.”

Y’all, we live in a world where peace in almost nonexistent, so much so that most people can’t even begin to comprehend it or accept it because it seems so fallen. Even almost 200 years ago, Longfellow felt it, this incredulity over the very idea of there being such as thing as “peace on earth, goodwill to men” in a world that was nothing but chaos, war, hate, death, and despair. This man, who once wrote love poems to the night and wove stories of romance and light, driven to his knees in despair.

And yet it’s in this sense of despair that peace most thrives. It comes in like a shelter, a light, a gentle hand, a covering. It’s the only stable thing in the midst of angry roiling waves and sea billows of sorrows. It’s the only thing we can hold on to when the storm tosses our life to and fro.

It’s the knowledge that, no matter what, God is there. He is constant. He is strong. He is sovereign. He is loving and kind and just and holy and light. He is our beginning and our end and our tumultuous middle.

I think of Mary, who could have been stoned for being pregnant before knowing her husband. She should have been frightened and angry and anxious—but no. God was with her. God had given her His child, and God would see that both of them would be delivered. What a wondrous peace, knowing that God would sustain and provide and protect. Knowing that everything began and ended with God. Knowing that His will would be done, and that He was sovereign and worthy of trust.

I pray you have this peace. I pray that, no matter what you face, you will look it straight in the eyes and say, “God is the beginning and the end. God is my strength, my fortress, and my deliverer. God is with me wherever I go, and because of that, I have peace.”

May you be able to say to your children, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren, “Let me tell you about peace.”

Merry Christmas to you all, and unto you up to the tenth generation, peace and goodwill.

“There is always calm in Christ.

No matter where it is that you go or what it is that you do.

He will be glorified. He will watch over you.

His will shall be done. In Him, there is peace.”


Bound and Determined by Grace A. Johnson

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.”

“Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



yours in spirit and script,

Grace


#peace #christmas #god #jesus #peaceonearth #poetry #christianity

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