"I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day," My Favorite Christmas Carol

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," my favorite Christmas carol.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was appalled by the Civil War, and persistent news reports of the amount of blood and carnage.  He felt as though the whole world was consumed by hate.

But there was more.  In 1861 his wife, Fannie, dropped some wax from a candle on her dress, which immediately exploded into flames.  In panic she ran into Henry's office. 

He tried to put out the fire with a small throw rug, and then with his arms and body.  Unsuccessful, she died from her burns, in his arms.  Henry was so severely burned about the hands and arms and face he was unable to attend her funeral.  He grew a beard to hide his scars.

Henry was debilitated with despair.  "My heart is not within me and mine eye is consumed with grief."

Later his oldest son Charly, unknown to his father, boarded a train for Washington and joined the army.  He was severely injured in battle, and on 1 December 1863 Henry received a telegram that Charly was in a hospital and possibly paralyzed.

On Christmas morning 1863 Henry was contemplating flames in his fireplace, "musing" on the bloodshed and hate besieging the country, he heard church bells pealing in the distance, announcing Christmas morning.

Taking pencil to paper he composed the carol we know so well.  Today we do not sing the stanzas that have to do with the Civil War, but the rest say enough.  He called it "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, goodwill 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, goodwill 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, goodwill 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, goodwill 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, goodwill to men!"

 

It seems that in our whole world today hate is raging everywhere and is as strong as ever.  Hate is here, hate is there, hate is everywhere.  Haters try to force their hate onto others.

I am a "Merry Christmas" guy.  I do not buy society's watered-down "Happy Holidays" greeting.  To me Christmas is more than a holiday, Christmas is a celebration.  But I do not force my feelings on anyone.

But it does not matter your salutation!  It does not matter what greeting you give this time of year, if any at all.  It does not matter your belief, or creed, or religion, or no religion.

What does matter is that we, as people,  can surely make the seasonal "peace on earth, goodwill to men" sentiment last all year and as a matter of habit.  We, as people,  can love.

Hate leads to bad.  Hate leads to evil acts.  Hate leads to war.  Hate leads to greater hate.

Love is the opposite.   Love would not exist without hate.  We understand love because we understand hate.  We feel love because we feel hate.  Greater hate defines its opposite - greater love.

Love leads to good.  Love leads to loving acts.  Love leads to peace.  Love leads to greater love.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3: 16

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Ambassador
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

 

           Thank you Jay Markanich for my ah - ha moment. 

Dec 26, 2015 07:22 AM #40
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Kathy!  Glad you enjoyed it so much!

Dec 26, 2015 08:21 AM #41
Rainmaker
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Joyce Marsh, Daytona Beach Florida
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I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you Jay for sharing this. Hope you enjoyed your Christmas and hope you enjoy the remainder of the Holidays.  

Dec 26, 2015 11:43 AM #42
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Joyce for your compliment and wish!  And I hope the same for you.

Dec 26, 2015 07:07 PM #43
Rainmaker
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Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

What a sad story, I had no idea. The poem's sentiments are definitely still current. I don't necessarily believe that we need hate to feel love. 

Dec 27, 2015 02:16 AM #44
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Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
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Jay I'm so glad Kathy featured you!   What a sad yet beautiful story that I have never heard before. Love is answer all year long. 

Dec 27, 2015 04:35 AM #45
Rainmaker
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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm so glad your post is featured and I'm so glad Kathy shared it. Beautiful!

Love leads to good.  Love leads to loving acts.  Love leads to peace.  Love leads to greater love.

Dec 27, 2015 05:07 AM #46
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Opposites define each other Olga!  Left defines right.  Up defines down.  Etc.  One cannot be understood without an understanding of the other.

Fer sher AB.  Glad you enjoyed it!

And thank you Sharon.  We try, we really try.

 

Dec 27, 2015 05:25 AM #47
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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
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Hey, Jay!

I included this post in today's "Last Week's Favorites" Oh, and Happy New Year!

Dec 27, 2015 08:17 AM #48
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Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
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Love always wins!

Visiting your post again, Jay Markanich - and read the message of love!

Dec 27, 2015 08:32 AM #49
Rainmaker
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Bob "RealMan" Timm
Alliance Real Estate - Minot - Minot, ND
Bob Timm, Broker Associate, Alliance Real Estate

Great post Jay Markanich thanks for sharing the whole story of Longfellow.

Dec 27, 2015 08:51 AM #50
Rainmaker
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Jay - you have said it all.  Merry Christmas to all of my Active Rain friends.  I did not know that story about Longfellow but what a great story of Christian love and compassion.

Dec 27, 2015 09:35 AM #51
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Very interesting history on Longfellow that I didn't know! Today I went to mass and during the sermon the priest talked about being human. He went on to say that there are some people who have happy childhood and adult memories but the majority live with pain all their lives. 

In sum and in my opinion, love conquers all and people need to be loved their entire life.

Dec 27, 2015 09:36 AM #52
Rainmaker
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John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Jay, we often applaud a favorite song without knowing the emotion that birthed the music. Thanks for sharing such a great message of hope that sprang from such tragedy.

 

Dec 27, 2015 09:51 AM #53
Rainmaker
1,763,686
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Pat!  Fun is as fun does.

Praful - the Greeks had it right, they had different words for love in different contexts.  I think the love advocated here would be agape.

Bob - I edited it quite a bit!  Consider this the Reader's Digest version!

Grant - the curtain surely parted for him and he saw behind the madness.

Dec 27, 2015 05:29 PM #54
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Patricia - without a personal understanding of pain it is hard to recognize, and indeed feel, the love of a Heavenly Father.

John - music is quite the indicator of emotion, of all stripes.

Dec 27, 2015 05:31 PM #55
Rainmaker
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Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

This is "what I learned" this week on AR. I knew he was a famous poet but did not know the history of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Dec 28, 2015 01:07 AM #56
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And you know a little more now, Pat!

Dec 28, 2015 01:19 AM #57
Rainmaker
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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Beautiful Blog Jay markanich....Amen....AND Women......

Dec 28, 2015 10:10 AM #58
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you S&D!

Dec 28, 2015 10:16 AM #59
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Jay Markanich

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