Artifacts Gallery - Christmas Bells

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Christmas Bells

 
 
   
 

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"Christmas Bells" by James Christensen

Signed Limited Edition Giclee on Canvas, Unframed
Image Size: 10 X 20 in.
Edition Size: 125

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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