Friday, December 26, 2014

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day

Christmas Bells. Church bells ringing. The magical feeling of sleigh bells. All over the world different kinds of bells -
 from small tinkling ones to large, heavy bells that peal for miles around have special meaning.

The great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote many cherished works. One of my favorite Christmas Carols was written by him.

Tragic events in his life, the death of his wife, and the injuries his young son suffered during the Civil war, did not discourage him, nor crush his faith. He still had hope. He still saw a light in the distance.

During one of the darkest times in American history he wrote "I heard the bells On Christmas Day", a poem that reflects grief and despair, but triumphantly brings us the well-known message of "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men".

The classic Bing Crosby version of this beloved carol is special to me.

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.

I 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.

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."

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!

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