The choral melody of Dona Nobis is quickly recognized by anyone familiar with choral music. Often sung as a basic melody in beginner choirs, its simplicity becomes hauntingly beautiful when sung in canon. As a choir girl myself, I cannot say that I adequately appreciated this piece when I was young. But I encountered it again last week at a Christmas concert and found it profoundly meaningful. The full text of the song is only three words: Dona nobis pacem – “grant us peace”. As I sat in a beautiful, peaceful auditorium in Nairobi, Kenya, listening to choral music, my thoughts wondered to the lives lost in continuous terrorist attacks in the country – God, grant us peace. And I remembered our neighbors to the north in South Sudan being displaced, killed and losing homes – God, grant us peace. And the innumerable uprisings and conflict zones around the world – God, grant us peace. Even seemingly peaceful countries like the US continue to experience shootings and racial tension – God, grant us peace.
On Christmas, when we remember the coming of the Prince of Peace, I have been struck by our need for Christ’s mercy and the ultimate peace that only God can provide. This Christmas, may you experience Christ’s peace in your hearts and be agents of His peace in the world as we anticipate the fulfillment of His Kingdom.