I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Day 11)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:49 AM

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I bring you another favorite carol related, incidentally, to bells. This one is poignant and somewhat unusual in its focus on the fallen world while still keeping the original Christmas in the picture. It seems like many of the Christmas songs that talk about peace really have no grounding in Christmas and could just as easily have been written for some other time of the year. This one, however, does not fall into that trap. In a way, the song reflects the “already-not yet” tension of Christianity, and, again, the whole sense of yearning for restoration.

To it, it seems appropriate to say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

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.

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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