Sunday, December 24

"Peace on earth, good-will to men!”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today’s Excerpt:

The Story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
On Christmas morning in 1863 the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow felt despair. His wife had died two years earlier in a tragic fire, and he learned his son had just been injured terribly in the American Civil War. He heard bells playing and felt mixed emotions. On the one hand, the bells sounded beautiful. On the other hand, he felt overwhelmed by sorrow about war and death.

Here is the poem he wrote, along with a musical version.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and mild 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!

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.”

The poem highlights that hope is always here— even in dark and scary times— if we turn our attention toward it.

Here is a musical performance of “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day – Slavic Chorale” (4-min video) to see it performed in concert.

hope sun

THIS WEEK’S LESSON

Hope