Living in the city, there's no sleigh, no stable, no country Christmas. But the song that has been most meaningful to me this year was written by a city-dweller, himself. "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day." The words come from the great American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote them on Christmas day 1864, 4 months before the end of the Civil War. He had already lost his first wife who died suddenly while they were touring Europe. His second wife, the mother of his children, died at the age of 44 from a fire in the home in 1861, and his oldest child had recently died from wounds suffered fighting the Civil War. Whether we have suffered such losses or not, every day we hear of others suffering loss in the countries where our military is fighting or here, at home, in hospitals.

So, this year, my heart echoes, with hope, the words of the original poem. May yours do so, also.

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.

I 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 hearthstones 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."

Note: I found a beautiful rendition of this song on this CD. Joy, Joy

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