My favorite Christmas carol is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The third verse is:
And in despair, I bow'd 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."
Could it possibly have been as true when Wadsworth wrote it as now? Well, yes! The year was 1864. The bitterly divided factions of the nation were shooting cannons and muskets, not sound bites and attack ads.
As I write this on Election Day I know how true the carol is not just on Christmas Day but every hour. The bitterness of the Presidential campaign—-and even of the Texas 19th Congressional District race locally—-leaves most of us wanting it over almost as much as we want our vote to be on the victorious side.
What can we do about it, though? Everything. Think of the words that helped heal the Civil War wounds. Among them are 272 words beginning “Four score and seven years ago” and concluding “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”
Can words heal the wounds of the nation divided now? I believe they can. The pen is mightier than the sword or the sound bite. What we write, what we say, our public expressions, can heal feelings around us, extending to the ends of the earth. Working together, under God, we can start peace here and now.
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, let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us.