December 23, 2012

i heard the bells

today is the fourth sunday of advent. the fourth sunday of expectantly waiting for the coming King. his hope. his peace. his love. his joy. 

earlier this month at church i was re-introduced to a well known christmas carol. i learned that the song we now know as "i heard the bells on christmas day" was originally a poem penned by henry wadsworth longfellow entitled "christmas bells". henry wrote this poem in the midst of personal tragedy. his oldest son had been severely injured in the civil war, and his wife had died unexpectedly when her dress caught fire and they were unable to extinguish it. in short, things were not going well.

the fourth verse says this:

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.”

but then...the bells rang again.  

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.”

at the end of that service, we were invited to come to the front where we rang a large bell. with each clang we were reminded that no matter how dark the days, God is there. he is not dead. he does not sleep. and he is our peace.

this year, peace has been a bit of a challenge for me. perhaps it's because planning a wedding in essentially three months does not naturally lend itself to being a peaceful experience if you're an artistic, type-a like myself. i'm working on it. and in the meantime, i have this song playing on repeat.

1 comment:

Rick Arthur said...

That is a great carol. I especially like the Casting Crowns version.

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