Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I've heard this Christmas carol my whole entire life, and never thought twice about it. It is just an old Christmas classic... background music to which I gave little heed and no thought.

Until a couple weeks ago.

A couple friends of mine and I were sitting around my friend's kitchen table, reading and counting all the Christmas & Holiday cards people had sent to us, to send to the troops in "the Sandbox." (side note: mailed out the last batch of almost 2,000 cards this week... bringing the final total up to well over 19,000... very close to 20,000!) The words of "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" were on the front of several of the cards we were reading.

For some reason, something made me stop and actually READ those words from beginning to end, even though this song is so familiar to me and millions of others.The words I read made me stop in my tracks. So profound, so appropriate. So very PERFECT to send to Soldiers out on the battlefield... and so very true.

So, I invite you to look with new eyes, and read the words penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow... pretend you've never heard the song before and read it again for the first time.

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.
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.”

2 comments:

Suzanne said...

I accidently found your blog as I was doing research on "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I thought you might be interested to know that Longfellow composed that poem during the Civil War. When it was put to music as a Christmas Carol two stanzas were omitted. They are:
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.
The words ring true as much today as they did in 1862, when it was written.

Kat said...

Yep, i knew that... no wonder it is so appropriate to today!

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