Someone who knows I love this song gave me these two favorite lines of it during our family Thanksgiving gathering. This unexpected and special gift was doubly inspiring. First, I knew right away it was the perfect backdrop for our family nativity set. Our nativity is a simple one, and I've always loved it. Charles and I bought it in Shaker Village on February 6, 1988. I know this because I wrote the date and place on the box - one of the very few times I remembered that some day I'd forget.
If you've read "Hey, God? Yes, Charles." or some of my blogs or other posts, you know that peace is a meaningful word to me. I worry about peace, and am always grateful when I see any public display. But there's a personal level too. Peace can be a hard fought victory when you achieve it again after loss. In the last nine years, I've worked hard to get there and I know a lot of you have as well. So this song means something to me. Little did I know however what its back story was until this gift prompted my second inspiration which was to research it. I wound up shaking my head. Because "Let There Be Peace on Earth" is a song written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller, initially to be sung by the International Children's Choir in 1955. But here's the kicker. Jackson, who had been suicidal after the failure of a marriage, said that she wrote the song after discovering the "life-saving joy of God's peace and unconditional love." Wow.
The message of this song sounds global - and it is. But when you drill down, you see the deeper, more personal, truth which inspired this songwriter. Before peace can begin with me, it gets to begin with me and God. I wasn't expecting to see it validated in Jill Jackson's story, but I've learned this up close over the years. Along with that unconditional love thing, you really cannot fully recover from grief until you are able to take each moment, and live each moment, in peace. And once you own it, you can begin to give it away.
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. Let there be peace on earth, And let it begin with me.