Christmas was not a happy time for him. His country was embroiled in a war he hated. His own son had returned home with severe wounds. And he also grieved for his beloved wife who had died two years before.
We all face times when life goes wrong and we feel despair. The despair after the death of a loved one, or the despair that accompanies a life threatening disease. The despair of a marriage relationship that has drifted into isolation. The despair of a child who rejects everything you believe. The despair of a problem at work that you can’t solve. The despair of feeling powerless to break free from secret sin.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the Christmas Carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" in 1863. Longfellow’s dark cloud began to lift when he chose to focus on the fact that God is alive, that He is sovereign, and has a greater plan than we can understand. We will never see the type of “peace on earth” that so many long for, because the heart of man remains unchanged. But we can experience peace in our hearts when we put our faith and trust in the God Who created the universe.
"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 goodwill to me"
"Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."Luke 2:14 (NLT)
The true meaning of Christmas is Christ and only Christ. Our world dilutes the reason for this season and, in the process, rejects the greatest Gift of all. God the Father, because of His great love for mankind, sent His ONLY Son, Jesus, to become the scapegoat for our sins.
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His One and Only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Father God, I can’t comprehend love like this. I did NOTHING to deserve it and yet You gave EVERYTHING You had just because You love me. Your Son came into our world as a humble baby boy, born to die, and take ALL of mankind’s sin on His shoulders. Through Your Son’s sacrifice, He gave the ultimate Gift: the ability to spend eternity with You in Your Kingdom for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Thank You!!! Amen.