“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.’”
– From “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Basis for “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
I can hardly think of a better message to share on Christmas Eve.
The full poem speaks more about the terrible events of the American Civil War, and the despair Longfellow felt at the great loss of that war, while the Christmas carol which his poem inspired shifts verses around and omits several of them, making it more accessible across generations and regions, but both have this as their most central message.
The message is hope.
As humans, I’ve found that we can get through the very worst of times, the most crippling despair and the most agonizing of pain, if we can simply find hope. It’s such a small thing, yet so very important. Humanity does not survive long without hope. Maybe that’s why we have a festival of light in the middle of winter, to remind us that the darkness does not endure, and we celebrate this.
We remind ourselves that we have something to hope for.
Sometimes we need that reminder when dealing with life. Simple life, with its unending hardships and tragedies, especially the hatred that runs amok among us. Sometimes, even often, it’s easy to think that there is nothing left to hope for. That we are alone, and there is no light left in the world.
But there is still light. The author of that light still lives, and shares it with us. Eventually, in the very end, what is right will triumph and what is wrong will not. There will be peace, and good will reign.
That is something indeed something to hope for.