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Many musicians and writers of poetry will admit that some of their finest work comes when they have experienced a death or a tragedy of some kind, that the writing of poetry has an almost cathartic effect on the writer.

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Such is the case of one of the best known and most beloved  carols associated with Christmas, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which came from the pen of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  (1807-1882) and was written on Christmas Day, 1864.

If you have are not familiar with the poem, take a moment this morning and reflect

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.

I 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.

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.”

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!

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

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