made forlorn

As I pray this morning for Newtown, CT, I am reminded of the poetry of Longfellow.  He wrote “The Christmas Bells” in 1864.  The words were later put to song … but we often leave out the haunting verses of pain.  Longfellow’s wife died from an accidental fire at Christmas.  The following Christmas Longfellow learned that his son was severely wounded in the war.  The war continued to rage – brother against brother – and out of that personal sorrow and national carnage, Longfellow wrote these words:

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.”

I can’t imagine how God will restore hope to this community, I can only pray that He will.  May the peace of God which transcends all understanding, guard  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!

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