Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peace on Earth

by Kerry Blair

One of my sons recently asked what I wanted for Christmas. I replied that peace on earth would be nice.

“Bad idea, Mom,” he responded. “That would put two of your kids and a nephew out of work.”

He had a point. I have two sons in the armed forces and a nephew who works for a defense contractor. But that wasn’t really the kind of peace I was asking for in the first place – not that I would turn it down, of course.

How many times have we heard the prophecies about peace being taken from the earth in the last days? Being a little denser than your average Blair, it was only fairly recently that I realized the prophets weren’t predicting world war as much as they were lamenting the widespread turbulence that mortality brings us on a daily basis. Certainly the incredible awareness we have in these days of technology and instant information is part of the bombardment. My husband is a news junkie, but I have at last trained him to turn off the TV, change the channel, or at least mute the volume when I pass through the room. (Two minutes of CNN Headline News can be ample fodder for despair.)

Unfortunately, I don’t have to turn on the nightly news to be made aware of trial and tribulation; I can open my e-mail, answer my phone, or just look around my quiet neighborhood. If there’s anyone on earth who’s passed their life (or even a significant portion thereof) in serenity and happiness, I haven’t met them. Often we wonder if we all “are” that we might have joy (and peace) where the heck is it?

Nobody has ever asked my opinion, but I think we each brought all the peace and joy we would ever need with us. The problem is that within ourselves is often the last place we look for it.

A few decades after Ralphie got his Red Ryder, I sang in a children’s choir at the United Methodist Church. I remember only one hymn from that year, and only a portion of it. It began: 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. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow, to take each moment and live each moment in peace, eternally . . . Words and music by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller, circa 1955. (Guess what! I just looked it up online and I do know all the words. Imagine that. I’ve only sung it to myself once or twice a day for the past thirty years.)

All this is on my mind this morning because last night I opened a new book by a poet with whom I was not familiar. (I use the term “new” loosely here. This book was published in 1880 with an introduction by Charles Dickens.) I’d recently had chemo and was really too sick to read – and yet I read anyway. For hours. Adelaide Proctor is now one of the women I most want to meet in the after-here. Because of the season, I was particularly touched by A Desire. Here is a portion:

O, to have dwelt in Bethlehem
When the star of the Lord shone bright!
To have sheltered the holy wanderers
On that blessed Christmas night;
To have kissed the tender wayworn feet
Of the Mother undefiled,
And, with reverent wonder and deep delight,
To have tended the Holy Child!

Hush! Such a glory was not for thee;
But that care may still be thine;
For are there not little ones still to aid
For the sake of the Child divine?
Are there no wandering Pilgrims now,
To thy heart and thy home to take?
And are there no mothers whose weary hearts
You can comfort for Mary’s sake?

O to have seen what we now adore,
And, though veiled to faithless sight,
To have known, in the form that Jesus wore,
The Lord of Life and Light!

Hush! For He dwells among us still, And a grace can yet be thine,
Which the scoffer and doubter can never know:
The Presence of the Divine.
Jesus is with His children yet,
For His word can never deceive;
Go where His lowly Altars rise
And worship and believe.
Proctor, Adelaide; A Chaplet of Verses, published to benefit the Night Refuge for the Homeless Poor, May 1862.

Where is the peace on earth the angels promised all those many years ago in the meridian of time? In our days Christ said: Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. Doctrine & Covenants 19:23

In war and truce, poverty and wealth, health and sickness, tribulation and triumph – and all else that is part of this human condition, every person who’s ever come to this planet has been “wired” for peace and joy. Peace on earth, goodwill to men resides deep within every human heart, even if or when it seems that it is nowhere else to be found.

Peace is still my wish for this Christmas season. May peace and joy and love overflow for you and yours at the the most marvelous time of year! The ribbons and bows and busyness will soon be forgotten, and at last held at naught, but the peace and joy we find in our Savior and our families has always been there and will last forever and ever and ever.

Merry Christmas, all!


At 12/19/2008 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful poem - thanks for sharing!

At 12/19/2008 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the inspirational words, Kerry. Merry Christmas.


At 12/19/2008 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very good. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

At 12/21/2008 5:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Kerry. I remember singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth" in junior high school choir; I think we sang it for Christmas one year. I loved that song.
The Adelaide Proctor poem was beautiful, too.
Hope you're feeling better for Christmas, my friend.

Sarah Arbuckle

At 12/21/2008 5:37 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Beautiful blog, Kerry. And I love the inspiring poem. =)Merry Christmas!

At 12/24/2008 11:01 AM, Blogger Margaret Turley said...

Thanks for sharing a new author. I will definately want to find some of her writing to read.
My sincere wishes are for you to have personal peace and happiness. That your chemo will go well and you will recover to full health and strength.

At 12/26/2008 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a Wonderful site on Isaiah!
The site has free lessons on every chapter.
Very well done and in the author’s own voice.
Every Isaiah Chapter has the Analytical Commentary of Isaiah. Enjoy this personable verse-by-verse commentary of Isaiah by well-known Hebrew scholar Avraham Gileadi.

“Dr. Gileadi is the only LDS scholar I know of who is thoroughly competent to teach the words of Isaiah”—Professor Hugh Nibley, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. (1. 6. 2003)

“It is my testimony that this man has been brought forward and trained at this time to help those inside the Church into Isaiah, and those outside the Church, Jew and Gentile, through Isaiah into the Church” —Arthur Henry King, author, former BYU professor and London
Temple President.

“Dr. Gileadi has achieved a major breakthrough in the investigation of a book of such complexity and importance as the Book of Isaiah”—Professor David Noel Freedman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Dr. Gileadi’s work will render obsolete almost all the speculations of Isaiah scholars over the last one hundred years . . . enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line . . . opening new avenues of approach for others to follow”—Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

“Only one who is truly at home not only with the Hebrew but with the ancient manner of biblical thought could have produced such an insightful and ground-breaking book”—Professor S. Douglas Waterhouse, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“Avraham Gileadi’s unsealing of the Book of Isaiah will forever change people’s
understanding of Judeo-Christian religion, lifting it to heights hitherto known only to prophets and saints”—Arie Noot, corporate executive, Edmond, Oklahoma.

“Isaiah Decoded is a huge breakthrough for the seeker of truth—Jew, Christian, Moslem, and agnostic. From an ancient writing, Gileadi has brought to light eternal truths about the nature of God and our relationship to him that have lain buried for centuries in the dust of time”—Guy Wins, fifth-generation Jewish diamond dealer from Antwerp, Belgium.

“Gileadi is the only scholar I know who has been able to express the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in relation to the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth”—Daniel Rona, Israeli tour guide, Jerusalem, Israel.

“Dr. Gileadi has clearly demonstrated his mastery of the Book of Isaiah and of the scholarly literature dealing with it”—Professor Ronald Youngblood, Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego, California.

“Avraham Gileadi’s books and tapes take the casual observer of Isaiah’s words and transform him into an enlightened and lifelong student of the Word of God”—Allan and Nancy Pratt, LDS mission president, Toulouse, France.

“Dr. Gileadi has awakened a whole new depth of my understanding of Isaiah’s prophetic message. His books and tapes illuminate the urgent relevance of Isaiah’s writings to our own day”—Becky Douglas, supervisor and sponsor of three orphanages in India, Atlanta, Georgia.

“Dr. Gileadi’s translation [of the Book of Isaiah] is clear and smooth, allowing the reader to appreciate the power and beauty of Isaiah as conveyed in the Hebrew original”—Professor Herbert M. Wolf, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

“Gileadi has uncovered an amazing message written in a divine code by the prophet–poet Isaiah. This will give comfort, hope, and joy to masses of people as they cope with the perplexing events now unfolding before their eyes”—Fenton Tobler, thirty years elementary school principle, Las Vegas, Nevada.


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