|By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons
This is the continuation of a collection of posts I’m doing this year about some of my favorite “Christmas Songs” that most people may not think of when they think of Christmas. They’re not in any particular order and I’m not sure how many I’ll come up with, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a countdown. Perhaps that will be a future year.
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
The news this week of a hostage situation at a chocolate store in Australia and the Taliban massacre of over 130 people, mostly children, at a school in Pakistan remind us of how far we are from complete peace on earth. It’s the paradox of living between the initiation of the revealing of the Kingdom of God through the incarnation of Jesus (Christmas) and the final fulfillment His second coming. It’s a reminder that Satan is still active in the world and still about the business of destroying any sense of peace in our world. It seems all the more poignant when tragedy involves children. My wife responded to hearing the news of the school massacre in Pakistan by saying, “It seems like Satan always likes killing children at Christmastime.” Looking at the number of such tragedies in December, it would be hard not to agree with her.
As I thought of the tragedies of this week the song “Peace on Earth” by U2 came to mind. This song strikes me as the “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” of our generation. It captures the paradox of living in a world where peace is promised at the time of Jesus’ birth but has not been fully realized yet. The choice when facing such paradox is to either try to shelter our lives from tragedy and just focus on personal peace, give up on the possibility of true peace on earth and despair, or to continue to pursue the final fulfillment of the promise of peace while recognizing we are not there, yet. This song seems to take that third way. It acknowledges tragedy and suffering while calling out to Christ to bring peace to those who suffer. It’s not done in a cynical way, but in the form of a prayer asking for this peace to be fulfilled.
I like this particular video version. It captures the paradox of simultaneous peace and tragedy very well.