The words of the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” have a story behind them that might surprise you.
It was a time of war and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was deeply disturbed by it all, the death and destruction. The carnage of the Civil War caused him great grief as he witnessed what his countrymen were doing to each other. What had become of this great country that his forefathers had worked so hard to establish?
After losing two wives, and now with this great Civil War, Longfellow, a renowned poet and writer, pondered the darkness that seemed so prevalent. On December 25th, 1863 his son lay in a hospital bed from war inflicted injuries. And as he sat by his son’s bedside, Longfellow heard the church bells and penned the words to his great poem, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.”
In Deep Despair
So troubled and in deep “despair,” Longfellow wrote of the canons that drowned out the message of the Christmas bells. His poem seemed to be headed toward a dark conclusion. But then . . . seemingly void of hope, he wrote,
“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, goodwill to men.'”
Rescued from despair! For Longfellow’s realization was that “God is not dead!” The struggles of this world and the evils of it “shall fail” and God, who “doth not sleep,” His “right” shall “prevail.” And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to the conclusion that there will be “peace on earth, goodwill to men,” just as “the bells” declared/ He ended his poem with . . .
“Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day —
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”
“[Jesus] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not ‘overcome’ it.” (John 1:2-5)
Consider the Christmas message of hope . . . for though the world lies in darkness, He who is “the Light of the world” has come and neither the world, nor Satan, nor “the darkness” can “overpower” the work of God in Christ.
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”
Pause to Hear the Bells
The Season of Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas)
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HOPE Advent Candle 1 – Prophecy Gives Hope (video)
LOVE Advent Candle 2 – Promise Reveals Love (video)
JOY Advent Candle 3 – Jesus Is Our Joy (video)
PEACE Advent Candle 4 – Pause to Find Peace (video)
Christmas Day: When Love Was Born — Light the CHRIST Candle
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- A Boastful Christmas Letter
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- Another reason God came to dwell with man.
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- Christmas, abortion, and Joseph, the forgotten man of Christmas
- Remember the Wonder of Christmas
- Will you find rest, peace, and joy this advent season?
- A Christmas Morning Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, performed by Casting Crowns
- Mary’s Child — from the movie, A Christmas Wish
- The True Meaning of Christmas: The Sacrifice Began (How Many Kings)
- What If You Had Been There When Jesus Was Born? (video)
- Pause To Find Hope. Receive the Promises of God. See Jesus. Hear God’s Plan.
- Christmas Trivia Fun
- Songs of Christmas Series: Away in a Manger; Mary, Did You Know? Rose of Bethlehem; Good Christian Men Rejoice; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; I Wonder As I Wander; What Child Is This? The First Noel In the Bleak Midwinter (a golden oldie)
Have You Heard About This Baby Boy? A most beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, with a Christmas message to touch your heart and give joy to your soul.
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