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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day!

"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!"

This is a song (originally it was a poem) that was penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the middle of the Civil War when it looked hopeless for peace on either side. His wife had died in a tragic fire and two years later his son was seriously injured. On Christmas day after all this had happened he heard the church bells ringing and there in his grief he wrote seven stanzas of "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day". Two verses had been omitted from the poem when John Baptiste Calkin in 1872 set the words to music and the song was born. A beautiful song that tells the story of heartache but also of a God that is not dead, nor does He sleep. I had heard and even sang this song but never did the content mean anything to me until now, which is very sad. Out of pure misery this man's words still today grasp my heart and overwhelms me with sorrow for his loss. Yet at the same time his faith in God is evident!

I pray you will be blessed and these days before and after the holidays, holds memories of good and even with the bad there is hope and peace because of the One who came and died for us!


Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing about the poem. Merry Christmas.


Sherry said...

wonderful song. Thank you for sharing. I hope your day is a good day. Blessings to you and to your sister at this time of her life. Love your friend, Sherry

Donnie said...

That was so beautiful. I had never heard that history behind the song. Hoping you and yours had a safe and blessed Christmas Day.

Whidbey Woman said...

Poppin' in to say Merry Christmas and Happy Spiritual Sunday.
Lots of bells ringing, around the world... proclaiming our God reigns!

Crystal Mary said...

Hello, I have never heard this song, but the words are so beautiful. How sad for him!!! Yet he turned his sadness into beauty.
God Bless your Christmas with love and peace. Crystal MAry.

Valerie said...

I too had never heard the story behind the song - it all makes sense now - I always thought it was a beautiful meditative song - melody wise - but now it has so much more meaning to me.

Thanks for sharing and teaching!
Merry Christmas!

sarah said...

hope your Christmas was the best....

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

What a beautiful song,and poem.

Dena E's Blog said...

Ahhhhh, but God is soooo MARVELOUS in His Perfect timing and now you are sharing with us this Beautiful poem and soooo many of us do "get it" and we THANK You for sharing it with us... I soooo enjoyed your note Sweetie.. Have a BLESSED in Him week.. Hugs Dena

Dena E's Blog said...

BTW~~~Your images are all GORGEOUS Sweetie.. So blessed that He diredcted me to come by for a visit with you here.. Sooooo Inspiring is your blog!!!
HUgs Continued~~~Dena

Joan said...

I never knew the story behind this song. I love Casting Crown's rendition.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a joyous New Year.