Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

“...the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace”—Numbers 6:25-26 (NIV).

Songs, both traditional and contemporary, are one of my treasured things about the Christmas season. I have so many favorites it’s hard to choose just one. However, one that is resonating with me right now is “Let there be Peace on Earth.” 

Penned in 1955 by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller, the song was composed to reflect the feelings of Jill, who had been suicidal after the failure of a marriage. Jill said the song was written after she discovered what she called the “life-saving joy of God’s peace and unconditional love.”

According to my research, in the summer of 1955, 180 teenagers of all races and religions, who were at a workshop in the California mountains, locked arms, formed a circle and sang this song of peace. Hoping to help create a climate for world peace and understanding, the group embraced the simple but powerful lyrics. When they left the mountain, the inspired young people started sharing the song which made its way around the world as young campers took it back to their schools, churches and clubs. It has been sung all over the world since it was first sung almost 60 years ago.

Here are the first lines of this beautiful song:

                                           Let there be peace on earth
                                           And let it begin with me.
                                           Let there be peace on earth
                                           The peace that was meant to be.
                                           With God as our father
                                           Brothers all are we.
                                           Let me walk with my brother
                                           In perfect harmony.

Harmony is missing in our world today. Global wars, widespread slaughter, racial and religious tension, human trafficking and homelessness, as well as division in our families, have led to a lack of peace. 

In President Calvin Coolidge’s Christmas message to our nation in 1927, he said, “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”

"Peace begins with each of us."

Peace begins with each of us. Where can we find this life-altering peace that no man can destroy? Look to Bethlehem where, on a star-filled night over 2,000 years ago, a baby was born in a stable. This baby, the Son of God, came to bring understanding, joy, peace and eternal life to all who would accept Him. 

Corrie Ten Boom, a Nazi death camp survivor, once said, “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”

Peace on earth. Let it begin with each of us.

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