Listen to the Words

Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 4 comments

 

I love Christmas carols. Not the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” type of carol, but the ones often written many years ago. I enjoy reading the story behind a song and this one caught my attention.

Written by the famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, during the Civil War in our country, Longfellow was a widower and father of six children. He was told his oldest son was injured in the battle of Mine Run Campaign and was in danger of complete paralysis after a bullet entered the left shoulder, skimmed his spine and exited through the right shoulder blade. While in Washington DC where his son was hospitalized, Longfellow heard the bells of churches on Christmas and wrote a poem part of which, I’m going to include here. There’s lots more to the story. To read the full article, go here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/the-story-of-pain-and-hope-behind-i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/.

 

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.”

 

A lot of words are written through pain.

I won’t sing that song again without thinking about the writer of the words and his tragic story. It reminds me that a lot of words are written through pain. It certainly is true for me.

 

When there are no words.

During those painful days when I felt so alone, I cried out to God and was reminded I was not alone, though at times I felt I was. How did I know? Through hearing songs like the one above. Through comforting notes from friends. Through worshipping at church. Reading my Bible was the most comforting to me–and I encourage you who are mourning to pick up a Bible and read through the Psalms. They are full of comfort when there are no words. I really like this one:

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging….The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-3, 7

Foamy waters…..

…and the mountains quake..

 

Go to the psalmist.

If you are grieving some kind of loss whether it’s through death, medical issues, an ended relationship, job loss, marital problems and countless others, I encourage you to go to the psalmist. I hope it will help you as it has for me. In the past–and in the present, too.

 

Listen.

And when you hear a Christmas carol, listen to the words. You will find comfort there, too.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. My favorite Christmas Carole is you! Thanks for being a wonderful author and My Love. Me

    • You like everything I write! But I don’t think I could do it without you! Happy 4th year plus one day!

  2. Beautiful message Shirley. Just what words I need tonight. Just had some medical issues life changing.
    Appreciate your thoughts and messages.
    Very much needed to hear this.

    Thank You Dear Lord.

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