Here are some excerpts and thoughts—some of them in my words rather than those of the original writer—from another of those Twelve Days of Christmas meditations based on the carols of the season.
On Christmas Day 1863, America was going at it—brother against brother, father against son. Casualties were mounting—a dismal case against the idea of peace on earth.
A 57 year old poet, who had been widowed two years before, had just received a telegram telling him that his oldest son had been injured to the point of most likely being paralyzed for life. He was not only dealing with his own personal grief—he was disillusioned with the idea of peace on earth. To help him deal with this wad of emotions, he wrote the carol I hear the Bells on Christmas Day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wasn't the first to wrestle with this tension between the promise of peace on earth and the reality of a fallen world. Even Jesus did. And when we think of it, maybe we're missing the point. When we view the manger scene as a warm and cozy idyllic scene, we forget the reality that a battle was being waged between kingdoms—a battle over the eternal souls of all humanity. Remember—Jesus was born to die! That's the reality. The Light of the World had come. That was the good news. That the Light would expose the Darkness is not good news for those who prefer the darkness. Thus the conflict: that though the Light has come, darkness has not yet waved the white flag of surrender. One day...it will!
"Then peeled the bells more loud and deep, 'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep'"
The farm boy who wrote these devotionals, now grown, is Phil De Boef. He's experienced his share of life and can now write about it from that vantage point. He's also my cousin—a double cousin, in fact, so I know very intimately the home in which he grew up—down on the farm, with an emphasis on music! Both of these enhance his perspective.
Oh...and he gave me permission to share.
Email Willene at willenetanis @aol.com.
Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting.