This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

This is one of my favorite carols. I first heard it as an adult, during a difficult period of my life, and it stuck with me. Hope.

The poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day, 1864, a few months before General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote many lyric poems including Paul Revere's Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was born in Maine, attended Bowdoin College (that of a favorite Civil War hero of mine, Lawrence Joshua Chamberlain), and in 1854 moved to Cambridge Massachusetts.

Longfellow and his wife, Fanny, had six children. In 1861 while Fanny was preserving locks of her children's hair, her dress caught fire and she died of burns the next day. Longfellow, while trying to save her, was also burned. He mourned her death until the day he died.

I liked this video of the carol, featuring the music of MercyMe. It juxtaposes despair and hope, our only hope, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas, dear readers.

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The fourth and fifth stanzas, referring specifically to the Civil War, are usually omitted.

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!

(stanza usually omitted)

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!

(stanza usually omitted)

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!"

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