“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is a poem written by one of America’s most popular poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The first line tells us the circumstances of the poem’s composition, but the key to its message lies in the year it was written—1864. On the day when Longfellow heard the church bells in Boston “their old familiar carols play,” America was deeply entangled in the Civil War, and Longfellow felt the ironic contrast between the Christmas message of “peace on earth, goodwill to men” and the horrors of war. But as he listened to the bells, suddenly the Christmas gospel felt stronger to Longfellow than the hatred and killing of the battlefields.
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, goodwill to men.”
That verse has been playing in my head this week. Listening to the news of sisters and brothers around the world who are living through wars, fires, famine, and other natural disasters as well as those conjured up by humans, makes one wonder, “is God dead?”
God is not dead, nor is He asleep. He is a loving God who is involved in our daily lives. We were created with purpose and our lives have meaning. To think there is no God and that we are simply here by random chance is to say there is no right or wrong and that life has no meaning. God sent His Son to us to show us that we matter. He sent Him to show He cares about our struggles mentally, physically, and spiritually. He came to right the wrongs, to bring peace on earth, and goodwill to men. Thanks be to God.