The Christmas Star

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

My favorite Christmas song is “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most famous poet of the 19th century, was inspired to write the poem we know now, the Christmas carol, on Christmas day in 1863.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, goodwill to men! My favorite Christmas song is "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most famous poet of the 19th century, was inspired to write the poem we know now, the Christmas...

Two years earlier, he lost his wife of 18 years. She had been sealing envelopes with hot wax when a flame caught her clothes on fire.

Henry rushed to her and tried to smother the flames, but it was too late; by the time the fire was out. She was burned beyond recovery and died the next day. He was also severely burned and too sick to attend her funeral.

After her death, Longfellow became very depressed. He grew a beard to hide the scars from the fire on his face and spent his time translating other poets’ work.

When Christmas day came around the following year, he wrote in his journal: “A merry Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.”

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, goodwill to men!”

In 1863 the American Civil war began. Against his father’s wishes, Longfellow’s oldest son, Charles, ran off and joined the war and later sent his father a letter, “I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country, and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good. God Bless you all.”

In the coming year, soldiers risked being killed in the Civil war. As a result, they felt many hardships, including hunger, bad weather, and sickness.

Longfellow brought his son home twice because he came down with the fever and later because he was injured in battle. Then, while trying to nurse his son back to health, he heard the church bells.

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, goodwill to men.”

He said he found a message that peace would come again to the troubled nation. They inspired him to write the poem, Christmas Bells. Several verses refer to the war, but the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” came from Luke 2:14.

In the year when Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, political and social unrest. Finally, however, the angels appeared to the shepherds and told them where to find Jesus.

The star of Bethlehem, the meeting of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars led the three wise men (Magi) to the manger, where Jesus was. There in a stable, they knelt, and they worshipped Him.

You may already know the story of “I’ve Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Longfellow said the poem was a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Let’s remind each other that whatever despair we have felt this year, the celebration of the birth of Christ, is our hope and our light in the darkness.

Last year during the frustration and despair of the Covid pandemic NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) predicted we would see the Christmas star on December 21st during the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. It was the first time in 800 years. And it was breathtaking to see!

I’m not sure when Jupiter and Saturn will meet again in that spectacular way, but I do know that Jesus said in John 8:12, “‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the …” We can have the light to guide us and encourage us every day throughout the year on our best days and in our darkest days.

We are also reminded in Matthew 5:14-16 that we who understand what Christmas is all about can share the light with everyone we meet: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night today,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

I hope you have a merry and blessed Christmas and that you feel His love in every moment today.






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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Libbie -

    What a lovely post. We have our fingers crossed we can see the Christmas star tonight!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Libbie. I hope you saw it. It was cloudy here, but we got a glimpse.Hope you had a Merry Christmas,Deana

  2. Deana, you are such a great writer. I wanna let you know that you are one of my favorites. Have a great Christmas. Take care.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you so much, Sirisha. Please come back and read and share. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.Deana

  3. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much Libbie. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.Deana

  4. Maria -

    You have the most caring stories around!

    • Deana Landers -

      Maria, I so appreciate you saying that, my friend. I hope you have a marvelous Christmas filled with love and laughter.Deana

  5. What I great story, I have never heard all this before. It has been a shit of a year so hopefully, it will be better next year. Have a great Christmas.

    • Deana Landers -

      I agree, my friend! Hopefully, we will have a better new year.Merry Christmas,Deana

  6. Such a beautiful poem and a lovely reminder that no matter what we can still find comfort in the simple things in life, like the bells and a Christmas tree. I'm so sorry you guys won't be able to see the kids, but I hope you have a love-filled and very happy festive season.

    • Deana Landers -

      Michelle, I hope you have a blessed and happy Christmas, my friend. Thank you for your encouraging words.Deana

  7. Such a touching story! I'll be looking to the sky tonight to see the Christmas star :). Merry Christmas!

    • Deana Landers -

      Sara, I have been looking and I don't know if I've seen the Christmas star yet, but I'm just going to pick one and call it the Christmas star:} Because I need it!Merry Christmas,Deana

  8. Beautiful blog post. Thank you for sharing history and a wonderful story.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Meegan. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.Deana

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