Monday, December 26, 2011

The Bells On Christmas Day

For me (Nate) Christmas can be some what of a mixed bag. I really love an opportunity to remind myself of the incarnation. I love to remember this beautiful, impossible, redemptive act of the God who pursues us. I also love wonderful times with family and friends to celebrate and enjoy each others company. It is always a special time of year, one that will be especially hard when we are over seas.

But as my wife will confirm, I am not an intensely sentimental person. I am not usually one to get caught up in that part of any holiday. The consumerism built into the American celebration of Christmas and the ways that plays at my heart also can make this time of year challenging.

This Christmas I have meditated on a carol by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Besides being an amazing piece of poetry, it is a moving exploration of how it often seems as though God is far off.

Here is Johnny Cash singing the song.

to read the full text of the poem hit the read more link (I really encourage it, there are some great extra stanzas in the poem that the song omits).

Here is the full text to poem:

 Christmas Bells

    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."

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