I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

In the mid 1800s the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words to a poem titled, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It was put to music several years later but recently the song was recorded by Casting Crowns. For me this is a “listen to” carol and not a “sing along” one, but the Casting Crowns version is very moving to me. The words are piercing and poignant and hit the mark in so many ways; though there is no mention of Jesus by name in the lyrics. The song contrasts the words “peace on earth” with the lack of peace on earth and in the hearts of men. One stanza reads like 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”. Those words ring true if you see things only from an earthly standard. But the stanza that wells up emotion in me is this one: “Then rang 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”. This is truth. God is not dead nor is His activity thwarted. The baby in the manger is a King and will one day rule and bring complete peace on earth. Until then, God provides each of us, through Christ, the opportunity and joy to have peace in our hearts no matter the situations of life. The last stanza is this: “Do you hear the bells they’re ringing? The life the angels singing. Open up your heart and hear them, peace on earth good will to men”. Open up your heart and receive the peace that only Christ can bring.


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