Saturday, December 5, 2009

Do You Hear the Bells, They're Ringing ?

Born from tragedy and the turmoil of the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow composed the words to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" on December 25th 1864.

As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" flowed from the experience of Longfellow-- involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds. "My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue" (Psalm 39:3).

When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war's despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace.

Longfellow and, I dare say God Himself, would be honored to hear this stirring rendition.


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.

I 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.

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."

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!


LisaShaw said...

Absolutely beautiful...

Will share this song on my facebook.

Love you and thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

This is one of my favorites because it is so moving. I had forgotten all the background, so thank you for sharing it. Beautiful!!!

So sorry I have been a little out of touch, but things are out of sorts right now, with being away from our house and dealing with all of it.

But, thank the Lord, He is in control, and knowing that truth helps me to coast along.

Much love to you, and I hope you are feeling ok. I noticed on fb that you were coming down with something.

Take care, and blessings!!!


sonja said...

So beautiful! What a story and what a message!

The words never get old, but the story was new to me, makes the song even more special!

Wylie said...

Amen! Ring the bells!!!

Kay said...

Love this song... it's been a long time since I've heard it or sang it in church. But it's words still ring true today!

Loren said...

OH My I love this song!! I never knew the story behind it....Thankyou Kathleen for sharing this!

What a message....Peace and Joy even in the midst of death, loss, tragedy. What a powerful message. So many are suffering it seems these days...may we all remember the LOVE of our Savior as we celebrate HIS birth. Our circumstances are all temporary and one day we will be in Eternity forevermore.

Denise said...

Really lovely.

manthano said...

So extremely appropriate. Not only because of
the season. But needed in this day and age more
than ever.

Thanks and God bless you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;"

One of my favorite Christmas carol lines of all time! God is not dead, nor doth he sleep... how I need this truth tonight.

Love Casting Crowns as well.


Saleslady371 said...

The lyrics are powerful. I needed to hear them.

Rebecca said...

As per Elaine, I just must repeat, "God is not dead nor doth he sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail...." Hallelujah!

Ron Graff said...

Thank you for your great blog, Kathleen! The song is awesome!
Thank you also for your encouragement on my new blog.