Christmas Bells

Wesley ChapelHenry Wadsworth Longfellow was filled with sorrow at the tragic death of his wife in a fire in 1861. The Civil War broke out that same year, and it seemed this was an additional punishment. Two years later, Longfellow was again saddened to hear that his own son had been seriously wounded as a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac.

Sitting down to his desk, one Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing, and ringing. It was in this setting he wrote:

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 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.

(from The Timothy Report, Swan Lake Communications, [email protected] December 15, 2003)

One Comment

  1. Lindsay Johnson April 18, 2007 at 7:20 pm #

    How wonderful to now know the background of this great old Christmas hymn! Reading it has made the message of the song come even more alive to me. Thank you for sharing! How great is the Lord we serve, a God who makes the right prevail with peace! “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” (Psalm 103:1)

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