Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Bells Of Christmas

Menges': Adoration of the Shepherds

The familiar Christmas carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day comes from the poem Christmas Bells written by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow wrote the poem some months before the end of the Civil War. The sentiments he expressed in the poem can still be felt today by many, but my favorite line in the poem and in the carol is: "God is not dead , nor doth He sleep..." With all the turmoil in our world and perhaps at times in our own lives, it may be tempting to think that God is dead or at the very least, He is asleep. Our faith tells us He is not, the graces and blessing He has bestowed on us tell us He is very much alive and awake. Christmas brings us the gift of our salvation wrapped in swaddling clothes in the Christ Child.
No matter what may be going on around us or in us, let us accept this gift with all humility, love and joy. May the bells of Christmas remind us that our God is always with us.
To all my readers and to anyone who stumbles upon this post: A Merry and Blessed Christmas. May God grant you every grace and blessing in the New Year.

If you would like to hear the carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, I posted the Casting Crowns version in my post for last Christmas: Christmas Eve: The Night Hope And Love Came Down. 
You can read the story behind the poem here.

"Christmas Bells"
by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"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!"


Colleen said...

I love the song and I love your reflection.
I love that line and its reminder that God is with us always.
Have a merry Christmas!!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

A Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

God bless.

Esther G. said...

Karinann, this is one of my favorite carols. Thank you for this beautiful post. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Karinann said...

Thank you, Colleen, Victor and Esther. A joyous Christmas tide to you all.

Michael said...

I hope you had a blessed Christmas!

God Bless you.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.