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Are You Stressed or Blessed This Christmas?

By: Beth Gillem
| December 23, 2020 |

Are you stressed or blessed this Christmas? For many, the answer is overwhelmingly “stressed!” With all that 2020 has brought, it is understandable. It takes special intentionality to look for blessings. I love the wise message my father wrote below and hope it helps you feel a little more blessed in the chaos. 

Are you stressed or blessed?

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is a beautiful Christmas song. It was composed of one of Longfellow’s poems. However, the writer was in great despair over the condition of his world.

“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!”

A Long Ago World Not Unlike Our Own

Do you know what Longfellow’s world was like when he wrote those words? A terrible war was raging. Brother was killing brother in our war between the States. Pain, suffering, poverty, and chaos were widespread. The third verse reflects this.

“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!”

A brief glance at the news can be frightening. The Pandemic, uncertain financial conditions, and random violence continue. It’s enough to darken the spirit of the most optimistic.

Peace is not the absence of troubles. Peace is the presence of God.

Longfellow concluded his poem with a similar revelation.

“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.”

A Christmas With Peace

Your Christmas may be hectic or unsettling, or you may be lonely and scared. There might be sickness and uncertainty and fears, but you can still have peace in troubling times. How? Peace comes, not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of Christ. 

And He shall be called Emanuel meaning “God with us.”

I hope your Christmas is merry and full of His peace.

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