Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, snug in my PJs, listening to the cold North wind howl around the house, I'm happy to say that it *finally* feels like Christmas to me. Sweet Hubby and I along with my parents attended the Christmas Eve service at our church, and it was wonderful! It was JUST what I needed...a glorious reminder of the Reason for the Season, and some precious time worshiping and celebrating His birth!

As part of the service, our pastor told the tragic but beautiful story behind the poem-turned-Christmas-carol called "Christmas Bells" (the carol is called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"), penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The year was 1863 and the US Civil War was raging when Longfellow received word that his son Charles had been seriously wounded in the battle of New Hope Church, VA. Just two years prior, near the dawn of the Civil War, Longfellow lost his wife in a tragic fire. Still reeling from the loss, the war, and the news of his son, he would soon pen the following words while listening to the church bells on Christmas morning...

"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!"

Through the pain of loss and the cloak of despair, the bells of Christmas had pierced Longfellow's heart with hope... a hope born of the Good News of the arrival of the Prince of Peace. I pray that the prevailing hope in the story of Jesus' birth and the incredible love the Father has for you will pierce through your circumstances and fill you with inexplicable peace - the peace that passes all understanding...

My favorite rendition by far of the carol is the 2008 release of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns. I invite you to listen to this live performance of the song and allow the Holy Spirit to renew your peace and joy, just like He did for me this night...

For each and every one of you, my family and friends, I pray you'll have a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Thank you for being such a treasured part of my life!!

Love and Hugs,


  1. Merry Christmas Dear Becky to you and yours!!

    I soooooo love Casting Crowns and this video is incredible. We saw them in concert a few months ago. Awesome!!

  2. Anonymous8:19 AM

    This drawing is PRECIOUS!!!

    We attended Christmas Eve service as well. There is just something magical about walking out into the brisk air at midnight, the sounds of Silent Night, Holy Night still floating around in your head. Such sweet peace! That is when Christmas hits me!

  3. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Dear Friend. Keep up your wonderful talent God has gifted you with!!! Miss P


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