Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Peace of Christmas

Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. 

John 14:27

December of 1861 was not a time of peace on earth in the United States.  A Civil War was being fought between the North and the South, killing and wounding thousands and thousands of men.  It was during this time, a man named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a Portland Maine native, buried his wife.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry’s wife Fanny had been accidentally burned to death while heating sealing wax.  Wax that was used to seal the envelope containing her children’s cut off baby curls.  Henry had also suffered severe burns while trying to save her as her clothes burst into flames.Two years later one of Mr. Wadsworth’s sons who had gone off to fight in that Civil War was badly wounded.  During this low point in Henry’s life he wrote the poem,

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

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 th’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.

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.

This timeless poem/song written by Mr. Longfellow over 150 years ago is applicable still today and reminds us there is HOPE, even in times of despair. 
God is not dead nor doth he sleep.

The Christmas story is about a gift from God to the human race.  The gift of His Son, to take the punishment for our sins.   There’s nothing you can do to earn this gift, you receive it by faith.  Once you receive a gift, it’s yours. 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; 
and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

The angel’s message to the Shepard’s was:

Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. 

For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger. 

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men. 
Luke 2:10-14

Jesus Christ is the only lasting peace you will ever find in this world. 

Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. 

John 14:27

The church bells ring on Christmas to announce God’s gift to humanity and the HOPE He brought to us in the form of the baby in the Bethlehem manger.  

May you and your family be blessed by that Gift throughout this Christmas season and in the coming year. 


Natalie said...

I had not heard that story before, Abby. It amazes me when I read about such tragedy and the good that God brings out of it. It doesn't surprise me though, God is so faithful and promises to be with us always. To God be all the glory!

Dawn Paoletta said...

Just beautiful. I love to hear the story behind the great writers, and artists. Thank you. Beautiful and poignant. How the songs penned for hymns and carols are so full of powerful theology. I really love them...

TLady said...

BEAUTIFUL POST ABBY!!!!!!!!! Thank you for the LOVELY images!!!!!! :)

Shoregirl said...

I'd never heard that story before -- thanks for sharing! My favorite verses of "I Heard the Bells" are 4 and 5 --- so triumphant after despair! Thanks for sharing this with us today!

Teresa Arsenault said...

Thanks bunches, Abby, and Merry Christmas.
Blessing hugs,

Jos Family Creates said...

Abby this is beautiful! Thank you so much! May peace be with you and yours also through this holiday season and forever more!

Vee said...

Such a beautiful post, Abby. Though I know the story, it was wonderful to read it in your words and with your emphasis. Very special.

Anne said...

Your posts are always special but this really touched me. Such power! Thank you Abby!

Gemiel said...

Thanks so much for sharing the history of that hymn. I hadn't heard it before. Hymns take on a whole new meaning when we are aware of the author's motivation for composing them. Blessings!

Rea said...

I love reading the stories behind so many of the Hymns. You know they came from people just like you and me, living out their life and faith in Christ, through good times and bad, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of their faith." Thank you for the beautiful graphics and hymns. Merry Christmas.

MaxineD said...

Thank you for that history Abbie - and may you too be blessed with peace and joy as you celebrate Christmas.

Sandie Edwards said...

Blessings to you Abbie, I really needed to read this ... x

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Thanks so much Abby for being a blessing, I always enjoy the background of things which we hold so dear...

- have linked over to you for this week on my recent post the WHY of Christmas...
love Shaz in oz.x no craft on mine as unable to craft..

Joy said...

I liked the story about H W Longfellow's wife and the poem. Interesting post.

MaryH said...

Hi Abby, surfed over from Shaz in Oz. Thank you so much for this so beautiful, and informative post. At the present time, with the tragedy in Connecticut, this post was a balm to my heart. I KNOW that God is in charge, things happen as He plans, but Man gets in the way with his meanness. It is uplifting to read once again, & to be reminded: Have faith, we are in His Arms...He alone will not fail us. Thank you so much. I needed to read this today, and I did not know the story behind the song. Which is one of my favorite carols. Merry Christmas.

Teresa Arsenault said...

Beautiful images and I didn't know that Longfellow wrote "I Hear the Bells". I love his poetry.
Christmas blessings,