Christmas Bells

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Christmas is a season of magic. Open your heart to it and the world becomes a place more beautiful and full of hope. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s inspiration for "Christmas Bells" is such a story. After years of despair brought on by the loss of his wife and the wounding of his son in the Civil War, Longfellow felt he would never feel the joy of the holiday season again. Yet, on Christmas Day 1864, the sound of church bells ringing in lofty spires stirred something warm in his soul. He sat down and wrote the ode of promise and hope upon which the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is based. Perhaps, as Christensen’s "Christmas Bells" alludes, there was a touch of divine intervention that wintery day. When those bells “pealed more loud and deep” than they had before, piercing Longfellow’s despair, an inspirational message to all mankind was delivered. 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!"

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More Information
Height 20
Width 10
Limited Edition of 150
Published January 2014
Artist James C. Christensen


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