I can’t get this song out of my head, but I don’t want to. It’s about eventual peace…and I like having peace ringing around in my head.
Longfellow wrote the poem on Christmas Day 1863. Two years earlier, his beloved wife had died in a fire. Later, his oldest son joined the Union Army and was severely wounded.
We’ve had a lot of despair, but I can’t imagine how people felt during the Civil War.
Here’s verse 3.
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.
But hang on…here’s verse 4.
Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.
Peace means “a state of mutual harmony.” There’s a healed wholeness about it. All languages try to capture it, from the Cherokee “elohe” to the Hebrew “shalom” to the African “ubuntu.” Ubuntu means “one-another-ness and profound commitment to the well-being of all.”
If people had really grasped “ubuntu” back in the day, the Civil War would never have happened. I wonder what would happen if we were to grasp it today?
Who knows, maybe peace on earth?