Monday, December 8, 2008

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" on Christmas day 1864 in the midst of the American Civil War and the news of his son Charles Appleton Longfellow having suffered wounds as a soldier in battle. He had suffered the great loss of his wife two years prior to an accident with fire. His despair in the following years after was recorded in his journal.

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."

I love this song. It is sad and reflective but in the end tells of the deep truth that God is not dead and He is not sleeping. I needed to think about that today.

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