Story Behind the Song (Christmas Version) – I Heard the Bells

I still can’t believe it’s December! Do you feel like this semester has just flown by?

Resound is playing Christmas music now. 🙂 So in honor of the season, today’s “Story Behind the Music” is focusing on a Christmas song.

“I Heard the Bells” was written in 1863 as a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Here’s an amazing, live rendition by Casting Crowns…

Song Credits: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – LIVE” by Casting Crowns

To find out more about this song, I went to the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia:

Longfellow lost his second wife two years before writing this song. In 1863, his oldest son Charles joined the Union troops during the Civil War, leaving home without his father’s blessing. By November, Charles was wounded and no longer able to fight. So there’s no doubt that Longfellow was burdened with grief while writing these lyrics.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play;
In music sweet the tones repeat,
“There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
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 does He sleep,
For Christ is here; His Spirit near
Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”

When men repent and turn from sin
The Prince of Peace then enters in,
And grace imparts within their hearts
His peace on earth, good will to men.

O souls amid earth’s busy strife,
The Word of God is light and life;
Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice,
Hail peace on earth, good will to men.

Then happy, singing on your way,
Your world will change from night to day;
Your heart will feel the message real,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

The imagery of peace in this song is so beautiful.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the craziness of the holiday season. Trying to find the perfect gifts. Attending Christmas parties. Finishing the semester well. Traveling.

My favorite words of this song are

O souls amid earth’s busy strife,
The Word of God is light and life;
Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice

So that’s the focus of today’s devotional. The key to finding peace in this busy time of year is taking the time to listen to God’s voice.

Sometimes, peace seems impossible. As we enter into finals week, you may be feeling overwhelmed with everything. Trust me, I get that feeling.

But even among the craziness of life, we can have peace. We can also share that peace with others by taking time to hear God’s still, small voice.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope the rest of your semester goes well.

What are your favorite lyrics from “I Heard the Bells”? Feel free to comment below.

-RaeAnn