I heard the bells on Christmas Day

This poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is on my heart this Christmas season. He published it during the last year of the American Civil War:

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 thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born

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.”

From here

The last stanza reminds me of the words of the Prophet Habakkuk. May the words of the prophet peal loud and deep and true again in our day.

Conversion from hatred requires person to person conversation

_iminuhfus0-matthew-clarkDerek Black, former White Nationalist – godson of David Duke, writes of his journey from “shining example” of the white nationalist movement to his present belief that the future is one of tolerance and the embrace of different cultures.

In particular he answers a question that I think a number of people are asking;

People have approached me looking for a way to change the minds of Trump voters, but I can’t offer any magic technique. That kind of persuasion happens in person-to-person interactions and it requires a lot of honest listening on both sides. For me, the conversations that led me to change my views started because I couldn’t understand why anyone would fear me. I thought I was only doing what was right and defending those I loved.

He also points out that his willingness to have those conversations started by encountering people who clearly and firmly rejected what he believed to be the truth.

You can read the full essay here: Why I Left White Nationalism – The New York Times