Christmas, Hope

On Christmas Day, my husband I watched a documentary about Christianity. One scholar researched the alignment of the heavens at the time of Jesus' birth and determined that he was really born some time in April. Not December. But we need Christmas in December. Just after the winter solstice, when nights are dark and at their longest, we need light. We need hope. It makes sense for the Messiah to come at the deepest, darkest time of year. This poem expresses that wintery, hopeful light for me:

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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