I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day

Bells 2

I am overwhelmed by the peace and joy that this Christmas season brings to so many in  our world today.  Beyond the Bible, there are few stories or songs or poems that truly grasp the meaning of this wonderful day.  However, there is one piece of classic literature that means a great deal to me and to my wife and children at this particular time of year.  It is a poem, originally titled ‘Christmas Bells’ when it was written in 1863 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and now most well-known (with only a few changes) as the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  It is our prayer for you on this Christmas day that you will see beyond the lights and the trees and the gifts and the food to the heart and soul of it all.  I am grateful that Longfellow once saw it, too.

Christmas Bells (1863)

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.”

Longfellow                           Bells