Advent 2019 #25: We made it

I don’t know about you, but that’s how I feel about Christmas this year: we made it! Looking around Australia and the globe, it’s been a year of global tension:

  • Yet another Royal Commission
  • Refugee Crises
  • Bushfires
  • Drought
  • Trade Wars
  • Terrorism
  • Volcano Eruption
  • Selfishness
  • Impeachment
  • Exploitation of people and places
  • Unrest and protests

I could keep going but I won’t. I’ll leave you with a song instead. Again, from Casting Crowns.

The lyrics were originally written by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem referenced the American Civil War and I think that compositional context helps explain why it’s fitting to reflect upon at the end of this year.

The modern form of the song no longer has those historical references, so it doesn’t jolt the modern Aussie ear to listen to it. But here’s what the band explains about the song:

When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war’s despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace. As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” flowed from the experience of Longfellow – involving the tragic death of his wife, Fanny and the crippling injury of his son, Charles from war wounds.

I hope it’s been a good year for you. However, if it hasn’t, my prayer for you today is that like Longfellow you will still be able to find ‘a confident hope of triumphant peace’.

Have a Happy Christmas!

Yours in hearing the bells,

Alison

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play

And mild and sweet their songs repeat

Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing (Peace on Earth)

Like a choir they’re singing (Peace on Earth)

In my heart I hear them

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

But the bells are ringing (Peace on Earth)

Like a choir singing (Peace on Earth)

Does anybody hear them?

Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep (Peace on Earth, peace on Earth)

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men

Then 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

And the bells they’re ringing (Peace on Earth)

Like a choir they’re singing (Peace on Earth)

And with our hearts we’ll hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing? (Peace on Earth)

The life the angels singing (Peace on Earth)

Open up your heart and hear them (Peace on Earth)

Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth

Peace on earth, Good will to men

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

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