Did you know that the hymn, “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day”, was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? Yes, the one who became known as one of Americas greatest writers. His brother, Samuel was a minister and hymnist, but this hymn was written by Henry.
It was Christmas Day in 1863, during a very dark day for Henry Longfellow, and for all of America. These were the dark days of the Civil War, but for Henry, his son Charles had recently been severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church in Virginia, on Nov. 27th.
As Henry sat by his son’s bedside, he wrote:
“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 th’un-broken 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.”
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.”
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!”
This makes me think, how the ‘just shall live by faith and not by sight.” So I will repeat,
“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!”
The ringing, the singing, the voice, the chime – “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.” What a wonderful hymn for our Christmas Day.