Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of America's best known writers, faced some difficult times during his life.  In 1861, his wife tragically died when her dress caught on fire in their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  That same year the Civil War broke out, tearing the nation apart.  Two years later, during some of the fiercest days of the conflict, Henry's seventeen year old son, Charley, ran away from home and boarded a train to join President Lincoln's army.  In June of 1863 Charley contracted typhoid fever and malaria and was sent home to recover.  By August he was well enough to return but on November 27, during the battle of New Hope Church, in Virginia, he was shot through the left shoulder.  The bullet nicked his spine and came close to paralyzing him.  Upon hearing the news, Longfellow rushed to Washington to be with his son.  Finding him well enough to travel, he brought him back home to Cambridge.  There he sat by his son's bedside, slowly nursing him back to health.  On Christmas Day Longfellow vented his feelings by penning the words of this week's carol which is best understood against the backdrop of the war.  Two verses are omitted from most hymnals because they speak of the cannons thundering in the South and the hated tearing apart "the hearthstones of a continent."  The author feels like dropping his head in despair but then he hears the Christmas bells and is reminded that "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep."   And while the author was reflecting upon the times in which he lived, I believe the same can be said about the times in which we live.  Trouble, despair and even hatred can be seen all around and at times there seems to be no hope.  But God is not dead.  And while we will never see true peace and goodwill on earth until Christ returns, we can rest in the fact that God does provide personal peace to those who trust Him. And someday He will return and reign.  So as you see or hear the Christmas bells during this season, be reminded that we can know and obey the God who is the only perfect peace giver.

(1)   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.

(2)   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.

(3)   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."

(4)   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."

(5)   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!

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Thank you so much for posting the story of this poem. It is so inspiring. The song now has a new meaning for me.