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 had 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 battle. He 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, once because he came down with a fever and later because he was injured in battle. Then, one day he heard the church bells while trying to nurse his son back to health.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleeps;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevails,

With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

He said he found a message in the sound of the bells 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, and political and social unrest. Then, finally, 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 know that Jesus said in John 8:12, “‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light to guide us and encourage us every day throughout the year on our best and 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 to 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 feel His love every moment.

 

 

 

 

 


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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

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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