Of the increase of his government
and peace there will be no end.
He had recently lost his wife; he was caring for his severely wounded soldier son; and he was in despair over the loss of life in the Civil War.
Fighting his crushing pain, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—on December 25, 1864—wrote the words to the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day …
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.
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.”
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.”
Peace isn’t the absence of trouble,
but the presence of the Prince of Peace.