Advent 2019 #20: Peace on Earth

Now that I’ve worked out what my three remaining songs for the week are, I’ve realised I probably should have called this week’s posts “Christmas time’s most melancholic melodies” because that’s where this thing has unintentionally headed.

If you feel the need to listen to Frosty the Snowman now to make things a little more festive, I won’t judge.

Maybe I’m in a bad mood. Or maybe I’m looking for meaning and it’s turning up in the melancholy. Elton John does sing about those songs saying so much, and they usually do.

U2 isn’t a band especially associated with Christmas, but you may remember the chorus from one of their songs on the All that you can’t leave behind album:

Jesus could you take the time to throw a drowning man a line

Peace on Earth

Tell the ones who hear no sound whose sons are living in the ground

Peace on Earth

No whos or whys, No-one cries like a mother cries

For Peace on Earth

She never got to say goodbye to see the colour in his eyes, Now he’s in the dirt

That’s peace on Earth

I like the rawness of the lyrics which are about tragedy in Ireland, known for its religiously and politically motivated violent attacks. Yet it could be anywhere:

Refugees on the run and dying in Syria

Children starving to death in Africa

Teenagers shot dead in a US high school

Throwing out an overly positive Christian adage like “Peace on Earth” to people experiencing suffering and loss and heartbreak, is meaningless at such a time. It’s also insensitive.

Jesus this song you wrote, The words are sticking in my throat

Peace on Earth

Hear it every Christmas time , But hope and history won’t rhyme,

So what’s it worth? This peace on Earth

Jesus came to bring peace. So why isn’t it always here? There are no pat answers to that question, so I’m not going to give one. It would be naïve of us to think that we can easily understand or explain the mind of God. But we can still trust Him in the darkness when we can’t find the peace.

Yours in the melancholy,


Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

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