I hear the Christmas Bells

by Geralt from Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

In centering my heart and mind on the birth of Jesus, I find myself distracted.  I don’t know about you … but I have to work at bringing Christ to mind throughout the day.

I rarely express a political opinion.  But I was shocked and dismayed all throughout the presidential elections.  I was not, am not in support of Mr. Trump as our president.  I’ve been grieving his election since that fateful day in November.  I waffle between unbelief at the reported comments, anger over his choices for leadership, and a heavy heart for our future.

I’m reminded that Timothy writes,  “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  With the Spirit’s help I am praying for our government’s leaders. Thanksgiving is so much more difficult.

In my angst, I remember Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Christmas Bells.”  He penned the poem months before Lee’s surrender in the Civil War. Longfellow was a widowed father of six children, the oldest of which was injured in the war. His poem captures the tension in that season … where our country was falling apart! He hears the Christmas bells, the sweet peals proclaiming peace amidst the thunder of the cannons’ blast. Hear the depth of his sadness … and the quiet confidence in His God emerge at the end!

Christmas Bells

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.”

As I ponder Advent, I quieten my heart and focus on Jesus …
He’s the King of Kings … the Lord of Lords!

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
(Luke 1: 31-33)

He who is seated on the throne says, “I am making everything new!”
(Revelation 21:5)

I hear the Christmas bells ringing … peace on earth! There is a certain dissonance … but in this quiet moment, I’m choosing confidence in my Redeemer, the babe of Bethlehem!

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
I myself will see him with my own eyes!
(Job 19:25,27)

God I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom; You know just what to do

 

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