By 1864, famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had already lost his beloved wife to an accidental burning. Now the country he cherished was savagely divided by a civil war that claimed far too many lives. Struggling with the Christmas sentiment of peace on earth, goodwill to men, he wrote a poem about the apparent contradiction between the sentiment and the bitter realities of life.
His poem was later condensed into a Christmas song. Although the song doesn’t focus on the Lord Jesus Christ per se, its trust in God for ultimate justice offers meaning in today’s divisive climate. As Christians, we know that the same Christ Who came as a sweet Baby will return as the powerful Judge Who will right every wrong. Listen to Longfellow’s words with that glorious promise in mind.