Even though I just wrote a blog about why everyone has Christmas backwards, I just heard a Christmas song that is so spot-on that I don’t know what to do with myself. It is as though it took everything I was saying about hope in darkness and put it all into one song just for me.
“Peace Child” is a truly special little song that I just can’t stop thinking about. Each and every word of this beautifully poetic song (lyrics below) have truly struck a chord with me.
Spotify credits Bernadette Farrell and Shirley Erena Murray as the writers of the song “Peace Child,” but this video credits them as merely composers, and gives the writing credit to David Kurtz and Jack Allocco. It also suggests this may be a Traditional ballad with an unknown writer. It does not seem to be a very popular song, and that is quite a shame.
The version produced by the Indigo Girls seems to be the best. It also appears on the album “Holly Happy Days” with other hidden gems like “In The Bleak Midwinter” and “There’s Still My Joy.” These are now among my favorite new Christmas songs.
“Peace Child” is one of those songs that transcends literal meaning and exists in this wonderful in-between realm, where wonder and mystery meet with personal feelings and beliefs. For those like myself that tend to respond more to the metaphorical and allegorical power of stories and songs, the song works whether or not you even believe in the Nativity story.
As I discussed in that blog, the true essence of Christmas involves light entering the darkness and offering hope in a bleak world. It encourages change, but recognizes our own suffering. It acknowledges just how bad this mundane world can be and how unworthy we all may be of being delivered from our suffering, but offers the comfort of that hope being fulfilled just the same.
Most believers will recognize the “Peace Child” as referring to a literal child born into this world as an act of pure grace. To others like myself, however, it has more meaning as a metaphor for hope itself.
I can easily imagine all the woes of the world weighing me down like an albatross as I begin the song, and there is no limit to that suffering. The mind has a way of putting it all on our internal movie screen and never shutting it off.
Yet songs like this seem to first shut off the audio for this horrible movie playing in our heads, then slowly fades the movie out entirely so our minds can truly rest. In the silence, we can love ourselves and finally feel worthy.
For once, we can believe that we are worthy of being forgiven and of one day existing in a peaceful and loving world. The child can be thought of as the seed of hope itself, coming to us on the darkest night of the year.
PEACE CHILD LYRICS
Peace child in the sleep of the night
In the dark before light
You come, you come
In the silence of stars
In the violence of wars
Savior, your name
Peace child to the road and the storm
To the gun and the bomb
You come, you come
Through the hate and the the hurt
Through the hunger and dirt
Bearing a dream
Peace child to our dark and our sleep
To the conflict we reap
Now come, now come
Be your dream born alive
Held in hope, wrapped in love
God’s true shalom.