Monday, December 23, 2013

R U Ready for Christmas? (Final Part 6)

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. - Jesus (John 16:33)

On Christmas day 1863 (during the American Civil War) the famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  The poem tells about the author's sadness upon hearing the church bells ringing on Christmas day.   

The year 1863 had been an especially hard one for Longfellow, for he had suffered two major setbacks in life.  First, his wife Frances had died accidentally in a house fire; and second, his son had joined the Union army against his wishes and had been severely wounded in a battle in Virginia.  

That Christmas day in 1863 found Longfellow in deep despair as he contemplated the meaning of Christmas.  These events inspired him to write this poem:

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."
 

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