The poet Longfellow had recently lost his wife to a house fire. If that was not enough he also just learned his son was wounded fighting in the Civil War. His heart was heavy and it was Christmas Day. The irony of all this was not lost on Longfellow. A day that symbolizes hope for all mankind found him searching deep within himself for evidence that God and hope were still there. He found that evidence in the ringing of church bells as they chimed Christmas Carols. He then put his thougths to paper and wrote a poem titled “Christmas Bells.” A few years later the peom was put to music giving us the song we know today as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
In 1954, almost exactly 100 years after Longfellow penned the poem, Time magazine asked, “Is God Dead?” Longfellow’s triumphant declaration at the close of his poem survives as a testimony each Christmas “God is not dead nor doth he sleep!”
Enjoy this modern rendition arranged by Mark Hall of the group Casting Crowns. I’ve also included a link to a pdf with the entire poem by Longfellow below the video.