Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Listen to the Words

I heard this song for the first time ever recently and was moved. It's taken from a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow after he lost his son in the Civil War and his wife was burned to death when he was unable to save her.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing
Like a choir they're singing
In my heart I hear them
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

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang 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

Then 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 the bells they're ringing
Like a choir they're singing
And with our hearts we'll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing?
The life the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

I especially love the stanza that says "God is not dead nor does He sleep." I'm reminded that no matter how unbearable this life seems, no matter how insignificant we feel, God still knows us and loves us.

Aunt Sarah says it better:

"God tells us who we are. He tells us we are unique in the universe. Psalm 139 says he knows our ‘downsitting and uprising.’

It says that he knew me before my birth. Before I was a person, before I gave my first birth cry, God knew me, saw me and was aware of me.

Who am I? Well, I like to read Scientific American. I find articles on astronomy fascinating. Within my lifetime astronomers have learned that the stars we see at night are only from one galaxy out out of many galaxies. And our largest telescopes tell us there are billions of galaxies. And every one of those galaxies can have a billion stars. How many of those stars have solar systems like ours? Our earth is less than a speck of dust in the total of God’s creation.

How can I think of the infiniteness of God? My mind can’t take it all in. I run out of words.

And yet, out of billions and billions of objects and time-years in the universe, there is only one fifth child of Ursula E. MacFarlane and Edward E. Gudschinsky, one named Sarah Caroline Gudschinsky. I am unique in the universe. You are unique in the universe. In all those billions of years, there never was another you and in all the time to come, there will never be another you. You are made by God into a pattern He will never repeat again.

Why on earth, then, am I worried about how I can be somebody? I am somebody, a unique creation of God."

Watch. There's just something about those kids singing "peace on earth."


Octamom said...

Beautiful post, beautiful writing, beautiful thoughts--

I didn't know the story behind the song--thank you. It's one of my favorites-

RiverPoet said...

Great minds think alike. I posted this on my blog yesterday as the best Christmas song of 2008. I love it, love it, love it. It's so beautiful.

Peace - D

Suldog said...

Lovely song, which I don't hear often enough during the Christmas season. Thanks for printing out the words, and giving the backstory. Awesome!

Sandi McBride said...

My Grandmother was a teacher. She taught us, as well during the summers because she couldn't stop. She said that there can never be nothing. That even when you burn something, the ash of residue remains. Our souls live on and move on...she taught us well. This happens to be one of those old Christmas Carols that is my favorite whenever I hear it...thank you for the history of it. You too are a teacher.

Babystepper said...

This is my favorite Christmas Carol of all time. I love the music and especially the words. I sang this song at a Rescue Mission one time when I was a teenager, and I can still see those faces when I hear it.

Sandi McBride said...

pardon my jaw dropping...I have never met anyone before who hasn't known that Carol since childhood. It is one of my favorites and I am so glad that you have been introduced to it! Thanks for the video...and Merry Christmas!