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By Carrie Butler

It’s a well known Christmas carol but before it was set to music, it was a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The first stanza is what we would expect in any beloved Christmas song:

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!

On the surface, isn’t this how we all feel about Christmas, especially in the year 2020? We are glad of a distraction from the chaos the year has brought – hard and bleak for many. But dig deeper. Most of us feel unsettled, like something is a little off. The normal sparkle of the season seems a little tarnished; our joy and wonder missing.

As this Christmas poem continues, it talks about the booming cannons that tore apart a country during the Civil War. The second to last stanza reads:

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!”

This is how most of us are really feelings as we draw near to Christmas 2020. It seems like we are losing the battle, whatever it is that we are fighting against. But take heart! The baby Jesus grew up into the Savior who would conquer death. The baby Jesus is God and He loves us so very much. As the last lines of the poem read:

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.”

May God bless you with peace and good-will this Advent season.

https://poets.org/poem/christmas-bells

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