Sunday, January 05, 2014

a much-needed reminder

Sometimes I get a little down and out about this world, about the garbage and shenanigans and stupidity and subtle evils and not-so subtle evils that often seem to abound at nearly every turn.

My dad and I were talking about this a bit before Christmas, sharing our discouragement as it were, and trying to cheer each other up a bit. Honestly though, we didn't have a whole lot of success in the "cheering up" department. 

The next day we went to church, and sang I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day as part of the service. I was enjoying/wrangling nieces and a daughter at the time, and didn't pay too much attention to the song. After church however, my father brought it up, remarking how helpful the song had been to him and his attitude, particularly the third and fourth verses. As I reflected on those verses, I too felt lifted and more hopeful.

We had a lovely holiday in Cedar City, full of the old traditions of my childhood, and the newer traditions of my adulthood. We traveled back to Cache Valley on the 26th, and I felt lighter, recharged, at peace.  

Unfortunately, as is (sadly) often the case, It didn't take all that long for that glow of recharge to fade a bit, and although I still kept the fortification that I had gained while at the old homestead, I could feel my hope and peace slipping, weakening, faltering a little. 

Thankfully, Sunday came around again. We went to church in our beloved familiar ward. I saw beloved familiar faces, checked in with people dear to my heart, wondered (with some trepidation) how Primary would go that day (Sundays after holidays always make me a bit nervous. You never know how the changes are going to effect the kids. This calling has given me mad respect for school teachers, let me tell you!)

We sang the opening hymn. It was I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. I was able and more motivated to pay attention to the words as I sang them this time around, and as I did so, I was filled with hope and love and confidence and faith and assurance and peace--oh, so so much peace.  

Funny thing--that was the only Christmas Carol we sang in church that day. All the other hymns that were chosen were songs that we sing all year long, songs that focus on our ability to do good in the world, to serve. So, the pairing of that Christmas song with those other songs might have seemed odd to some people. For me though, that pairing was an answer to prayer, albeit a prayer that I hadn't actually spoken. That pairing lifted me, strengthened me, and reminded me (and continues to remind me now) that right will prevail. There is no need for despair. There is need for hope, and we have every reason to have buckets full of hope

Here's the Hymn: 
(emphasis my own)

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!



(This video is seven and a half minutes long, and I hope you will trust me when I say that it is worth every second.)

4 comments:

Katie said...

I'm glad you shared this. I love this hymn, too, for similar reasons. Also, I love sitting in front of you in church. You are one who brings hope to many, so I'm glad it found its way into your heart.

Carol said...

This particular hymn is one of the reasons I love the Christmas Concerts given by the Tabernacle Choir. One of the first ones I attended was based on this very hymn. I learned so much about what was a going on in Longfellow's life and what led him to write this. I learned then, as I have learned many, many times in my life, that we all have challenges but it truly is the love of Christ that carries us through them. I am also grateful for my challenges and not those of others. When I look at the challenges of others - I see that my challenges are suited for me. In a weird way, that gives me comfort because I know the Lord knows and loves me. Seeing the Lord's hand in my life - even in the specially designed challenges - gives me strength and hope that 'the wrong shall fail, the right prevail'!

Carol said...

This particular hymn is one of the reasons I love the Christmas Concerts given by the Tabernacle Choir. One of the first ones I attended was based on this very hymn. I learned so much about what was a going on in Longfellow's life and what led him to write this. I learned then, as I have learned many, many times in my life, that we all have challenges but it truly is the love of Christ that carries us through them. I am also grateful for my challenges and not those of others. When I look at the challenges of others - I see that my challenges are suited for me. In a weird way, that gives me comfort because I know the Lord knows and loves me. Seeing the Lord's hand in my life - even in the specially designed challenges - gives me strength and hope that 'the wrong shall fail, the right prevail'!

Carol said...

One other note - I agree with Katie. Listening to Charlotte sing would tell any of us that the right will prevail! How I miss hearing that lovely voice!!

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