On Christmas and heartache…

On Christmas and heartache…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the horrible things that have happened this week: how as we sing of tidings of comfort and joy there are families torn apart; as we celebrate the season of hope, unimaginable tragedy has taken place. I’ve read the blitz of comments on facebook from the tirades on gun control to the admonitions to grieve to the reminders of good in the world. I teared up when I read the quote from Mr. Rogers {look for the helpers} and had to smile at the image of parents with matching insulin pump tattoos. And I’ve wondered what the proper response is. Honestly a status update on facebook seems too trivial and ironically, I feel too trivial to even begin to speak to this kind of hurt. But to remain silent seems uncaring at best and glib at worst. As usual someone wiser and more eloquent has already spoken the words I’d like to pen. In 1863, Longfellow wrote the poem, “Christmas Bells.” You’ll recognize it as the lyrics of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” In the midst of the horror of Civil War, he mourned the loss of hope, but found a source of redemption in Advent. Here are the final stanzas. May his words speak peace to you in the midst of heartache.

Merry Christmas.

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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