The merriest time of the year is upon us once again. One of the best ways to get into the spirit of the holiday season is through Christmas carols. A particular carol drew my attention last Christmas in 2020. A few months after my move to Florida in 2019, I received an invitation to be a part of the 30th year cast reunion for Disney Channel's All New Mickey Mouse Club, the 90's revival of the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 50's. The following year in 2020, I was invited to be a part of the Always In the Club Christmas album. We were given a list of public domain songs to choose from. I came across this song out of curiosity.
I saw the title and wondered what it was about. It completely intrigued me. When I heard it I knew that I had to sing it. The song was ‘I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day’. The words were so appropriate for the time as we were just in the beginning of Covid. The main theme of the song is "peace on earth, good will to men". Words that we need to manifest right now.
My producer and I ended up recording two songs that Christmas and I am so happy that we did. There was no way I could forgo I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It has stuck with me and I would love to share it with you.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is based on a poem called ‘Christian Bells’ by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote the song on Christmas Day in 1863. It was inspired by personal tragedy and remorse. He found himself in a dark place when his wife passed away and soon his son was injured in the Civil War. In the song he wonderfully demonstrates the distress we experience as humans when tragedy strikes. Yet, his sorrow is concluded in faith, which carries him to his feet once again. The third verse of the carol says, “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,’’ which communicates the extent of his despair. The very next verse though, there is a shift, and his tune is sung in faith to God in the midst of his despair.
You may find yourself in the midst of circumstances that have caused you great sorrow. The night may feel as though it is carrying on for way too long. Yet, the same hope which Henry found in times of darkness offers you a hand. It reminds me of the emotion filled Psalm 43:5, ‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God’. Well-known, contemporary
Christian music group Casting Crowns did a rendition of the song in 2008. I Heard the Bells became their 8th number one Christian hit. It is a beloved song that serves as a wake up call to all the justice and peace that He will someday bring, and the hope that He provides today.
Though it dates back all the way to Civil War times, it still sheds a fresh perspective of the experience we now are living through. In recording this song, my desire is to get to the heart of its message, that “God is not dead nor does He sleep”. This reminded me of the incredible truth that no matter what has happened or will happen in the world, He is still alive, He is active and working in the midst of all our mess. Those bells are not a reminder of what has been lost, rather a message of renewed hope for the future.
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day lyrics
I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play And mild and sweet their songs repeat Of peace on Earth, good will to men
And the bells are ringing (peace on Earth) Like a choir they're singing (peace on Earth) In my heart I hear them (peace on Earth) 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
But the bells are ringing (peace on Earth) Like a choir singing (peace on Earth) Does anybody hear them? (Peace on Earth) Peace on Earth, good will to men
Then rang the bells more loud and deep God is not dead, nor does He sleep The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on Earth, good will to men!