In this poem, written during the American Civil War, Longfellow wrote in despair over the lack of peace in the world. In one stanza, Longfellow wrote of the thunder of cannons drowning out the carols that sang of peace on earth and good-will to men. In the following stanza, his despair was evident:
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!"
That verse could just have easily been written today. Peace on earth is hard to find. Hate runs amok throughout the world, and even in our own country. And when hate is that prevalent, as Longfellow says, it "mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men." But, the peace that is mocked by war and by hate is the world's peace. There is a peace that cannot be mocked, no matter how much war and hate there is in the world.
When the angels appeared in the skies near Bethlehem on that first Christmas day, they gave praise to God, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men." (Luke 2:13-14) The birth of Jesus Christ on that day brought to all people a peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is an inner peace that comes from knowing that when we have Jesus in our lives, God is with us (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and when we have His peace in our hearts, we can face the world around us without despair and say, "Glory to our God who brings peace to all with whom He is pleased!"