I heard the bells…

It’s Christmas!

There are so many great songs that accompany this season.  Songs full of love and peace and joy.  But what about those other things that accompany this season? What about those who are facing Christmas deployed in our Armed Services or grieving the loss of a loved one? What about those who lay awake on Christmas Eve knowing that when morning came, there would be nothing for their children to open, because they couldn’t afford presents?

Henry_W_Longfellow_with_signature-cropI’m not trying to ruin your Christmas. Really, I’m not. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for being happy or successful. I just want you to know that if you are struggling to bring the cheer, you aren’t alone.

My favorite Christmas carol is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  The words are based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  He wrote the poem in 1863 after the lost off his wife and after finding out that his son had been severely wounded in the Civil War.  If you aren’t familiar with the text:

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 rung so long 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!”

There is so much pain in these words, especially the third verse.  Here is a man for whom Christmas brings only heartache. If this is where the song ended, I doubt it would be my favorite.  Instead, the fourth verse follows, and gives me chills every single time I hear it.

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.”

God is not dead, nor does He sleep. Even when everything seems to be falling apart, I rest in the assurance that God is actively working in my life for a greater purpose.  Things may seem dark now, but He has it under control.

From my family to yours, may you find your Peace on Earth.

Merry Christmas!

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