Chesnut Update... In a Nutshell
Serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators
Peace on Earth?
Peace. It's what this world longs for, but is powerless to establish.
I (Kelly) recently heard the true story behind a Christmas carol that was penned in 1863. The U.S. was in the midst of a civil war - opposing ideals were tearing apart the nation affecting communities, and families throughout the North and the South.
On Christmas day, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself -- wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observed around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of "peace on earth" (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. (To read the fulls story behind this song, click here.
Today's world is no different than it was back then. Headlines across the globe proclaim war, terrorism, hatred, violence.
Although I've sung this Christmas carol over the years, Longfellow's poem strikes a chord in my heart as never before. Read Longfellow's poem below and let your heart settle on the confident hope that is ours in Christ, even in the midst of bleak despair.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
the belfries of all Christendom
had rolled along the unbroken song of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
the world revolved from night to day,
a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
the cannon thundered in the South,
and with the sound the carols drowned
of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
the hearth-stones of a continent,
and made forlorn the households born of peace on earth, good-will to men!
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!”
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.”
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep...
May this season bring you a confident reminder that God's sovereignty WILL prevail. No matter what you face - health issues, financial strain, personal loss or pain - God is still God and He is still firmly on His throne. And He can be trusted to accomplish all He plans and purposes for His glory.
"May the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all" (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
To watch a video on the full story behind Longfellow's poem, go to I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - the true story.
Let's Stay in Touch
We are incredibly grateful for your partnership and inspiration! Would you let us join you in support and encouragement by letting us know of any prayer needs you may have? We count it a privilege to pray for you!
Until all the nations experience the peace of Christ,
John & Kelly
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Wycliffe Bible Translators
PO Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32861
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