{Peace On Earth, Goodwill To Men}


bells,celebrations,Christmas,Christmas bells,holidays,special occasions,YuletidesWhere Is The Good?

Pain has a way of messing with your vision obscuring everything around you. Hearts writhing in pain, bleeding, almost unto death. Knots of despair stuck in your throat threatening to choke you, not allowing you to speak, words unable to flow.

It becomes an opaque filter, impenetrable to light. Things become dark and dullness surrounds you. Pain causes things to become unclear and lucid. We grope for answers. But pain keeps us from seeing the good all around us leaving us asking, “Where is the good? Where is God?”

 

Silence

So was the case for Henry Longfellow who lost his wife, in 1861 during the Civil War, to a tragic fire incident.

After trimming some of their seven year old Edith’s curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. But when a gust of wind came through an open window, the hot wax ignited the light material of her dress–completely wrapping her in flames. To protect her children, she ran into Henry’s study and together they tried frantically to put out the flames.

Henry severely burned his face, arms, and hands. The next morning, Fanny died.

I Heard The Bells, Huffington Post

 

 

Henry was so stricken by grief (and ill from the burns) that he did not attend his wife’s funeral.

The Christmas following the death of his wife, Henry’s journal entry reads:

“How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.”

 

The next year Christmas time was so bad, Henry decided silence would be best:

“I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace.”

Another entry reads:

“‘A merry Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.”

 

As if the pain in His life were not enough, His eldest son Charles was severely wounded during the war. That Christmas of 1863, there was absolutely no entry in Henry’s journal.

 

The Silence Is Broken

Beyond the blood and gore of the Civil War, Henry was fighting a greater war: The war of the soul. He fought the war for joy in spite of his circumstances, for the ability to see good when evil seemed to prevail all around him, for peace when all that raged was war.

And although it seemed that darkness and despair had won, on December 25, 1864, the Christmas bells broke through Henry’s silence. Henry heard the bells, but this time He heard hope. This time Truth penetrated His darkness. God does not leave us. He doesn’t forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5). He is our strength, our refuge, an ever present help in our time of need, (Psalm 46:1).

He took out his pen and began to write the lyrics to the song we now know as, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.” And with that action of faith, Henry declared:

“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

 

The Bells Are Ringing

It’s the sound of the bells declaring Hope which Henry heard over a century ago. It’s the sound of the bells I heard during Christmas time in 2010. And it’s the sound many are longing to hear in Newtown Connecticut as they mourn the loss of 20 precious children and their 6 teachers.

Although we don’t always understand, and many times we’re left with questions and no answers…

The bells are ringing. 

Sickness occurs,

Family problems arise,

Layoffs and job losses happen,

Loved-ones pass away,

Financial stress comes our way,

Bitterness, anger, depression, sorrow,  fear, worry, and anxiety attempt to get the best of us.

But I’ve come with a message of Hope.

The bells are ringing…

There’s something about the song of Hope produced in the depths of grief that beckons us to hold on believing things won’t always be like this. It’s going to get better.

One day He will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no death, no mourning, no crying, no pain. One day the old order of things will pass away. For He who sits on the throne declares, “behold, I am making all things new,” (Revelations 21:4-5).

And while we await His final return, we loudly proclaim, tearing through the opaqueness of pain, breaking through the silence, allowing the Light of Jesus to shine into our sorrow.

The bells are ringing. Can you hear their song of Hope?

 

“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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Posted on December 20, 2012, in DAILY LIFE, HOLIDAYS, LIFE, LIFE LESSONS, SPIRITUAL GROWTH and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Powerful! Thank you!

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