Hope of the Nations


(photo: EWTN)

The Christ Child comes to us today in much the same setting he did in Bethlehem — amid political turmoil, religious persecution and a world seeking a hopeful sign. Yet there are hopeful signs all around us. That’s one of the Register’s many fine points — stories of “good people doing good.”

However, it’s often difficult for us to focus on our firm belief in the inherent good of humanity when there is so much inhumanity.

I’m reminded of one of the verses from the simple, yet powerful, poem Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

You may recognize the words adapted for the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Longfellow wrote the poem in 1863, as he watched his homeland being torn apart by the Civil War:

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, goodwill to men!

Yet the poem’s final words bring hope to this landscape. They echo those spoken by an angel to a group of shepherds, who, while fearful at the sight of a heavenly being, were comforted by the messenger’s words heralding the birth of the Savior of the world:  

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 men.

I wish you a very merry Christmas — borne of the peace and hope that comes from Christ, our newborn King!