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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Heard the Bells ...

Five years ago, my husband and I attended an amazing Christmas concert with Steven Curtis Chapman and Mercy Me. During the concert, as a deep base beat and the melody to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" played ever-so-softly in the background, they shared with the audience a glimpse of the events that had inspired the lyrics to this song, written by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so very long ago on Christmas Day in 1864.

I was completely unaware of the origin of the song before that night.
 
After the concert, I investigated further, seeking more detail to the story. I learned that, in a very short time span, Longfellow had lost his wife to a tragic accident in their home, and his son had returned - critically injured - from the American Civil War that was devastating his beloved country.
I can only imagine that his faith was being tested beyond measure and his hope for peace - in his country and his own life - was weak.
 
Something changed on Christmas Day 1864 when Longfellow penned the poem, originally titled "Christmas Bells". Maybe it was the re-election of Abraham Lincoln and, with that, the possible end of the terrible war; maybe it was the relief that came from his son surviving; or maybe it was the churches that - during the war - would ring their bells on Christmas as a call for ceasefire, bringing peace to the nation, if only for a day.
 
Knowing the history behind the words has made this song become even more beautiful, sorrowful, haunting, and hopeful.
 
In many ways, it is a call for peace. Something we all hope for.
 
So, as the holiday season kicks off, I've been listening repeatedly to this very song .... take a listen to the Casting Crowns version, from their 'Peace on Earth' CD at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7670CXvPX0&feature=related.
 
Wishing you peace this holiday season!

4 comments:

Jeff B said...

Wow, I had no idea about that either. How very cool.

Kelly H-Y said...

I know ... me neither, Jeff! It gives a whole new meaning to the song! :-)

Oh James said...

Hello, I just nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Check out at the link below:-
http://liftyouup.blogspot.com/2013/01/liester-blog-award.html

Wishing you all the best,

James

Kelly H-Y said...

Thanks so much, James!!