The message of joy and peace in the nativity story can ring hollow for many given the state of the world. A couple of years ago I wrote a poem addressing this. Here is a revised version:
“Joy to the world!”, sang the angels that night;
“Peace to all men!”; as the skies shone with light.
But how can we trust in their song from on high.
When pain, fear and hatred declare it a lie.
Where was the peace when to Egypt they fled?
What joy could there be as the babies lay dead?
Slain by the word of a paranoid king;
Witnessed by those who had heard angels sing.
I wonder if stories from thousands of years,
Of nations and families; their joy and their tears,
All tell the same story: We can’t get it right;
For nothing and everything causes a fight.
We’re faced with a choice: is this life all that’s there?
Is it just up to us to decide if we care?
To do what we can for world, family and friends
And accept when it’s over that that’s where it ends.
Or….did the angels sing?
Did they point to a hope that lies deep in our soul?
That everything matters; we’re part of a whole.
We’re held by a love that is vast and immense,
Even when what we’re going through doesn’t make sense.
If full joy and peace didn’t come on that day,
They gave heaven’s pledge that it will be one day.
Their song was a promise that broke through the fear,
Proclaiming to shepherds that God was so near.
So near at His birth, through His life and His death,
Sharing our suffering, until His last breath.
And then when He rose on that first Easter Day,
His body was new; all the pain gone away.
For now, things are broken, of that there’s no doubt
Love and peace whisper: Hate seems to shout.
But even in suffering, His hope can shine through
Kindness and love can show faith to be true.
Words that give hope in the depths of despair
Compassion from strangers, for why should they care?
A yearning for justice, our thirst to create,
All echo God’s love in our flawed human state.
So join with the angels, and sing out their song,
Peace still eludes us but they were not wrong.
The hope of the world came to earth Christmas night.
He asks us to trust Him, and follow His light.”