Monday, December 25, 2006

"I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day"

The purpose of this little posting is simply to wish all of you a happy and blessed Christmas.

Having watched the interview Bob Scheiffer conducted with Laura Bush on CBS's Face The Nation yesterday, it was all-but-obvious that the meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace - has been lost on these people. Last year around the holidays, the First Lady was asked by Brian Lamb of C-SPAN to name some of the President's favorite Christmas songs:

"Oh, he likes Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and things like that".

Of course he does.

I am reminded of another secular Christmas song that is more in tune with the spirit of the season. President Bush actually used a part of it last year during a speech from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - that is to say, he quoted it out of context. He never would have dared to recite it in its entirety, for doing so would have exposed the gut-wrenching hypocrisy of the obscene fiasco that is now being carried out by our government - in our name - against the men, women and little children of Iraq.

Although the tune dates back to the end of the Civil War (it was written in 1864 as a poem by none other than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) the best known version of it was recorded fifty years ago by Bing Crosby on October 3, 1956:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet, the words repeat
Of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men

I thought as now this day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rung so long the unbroken song
of Peace on Earth, Goodwill 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, Goodwill to men

Then peal the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men


Happy Christmas, everyone!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to listen to Bing Crosby's recording of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day:


At 11:10 AM, Blogger Blake said...


Thanks for you spiritual message of hope.

May God give you the strength and courage to continue what some would say is an irreverant blog. But I know is born from a mighty passion that you have for the redemption of man.

Dr. Rick Lippin

At 11:56 AM, Blogger McCarra—Poetry said...

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and every blessing in the New Year!

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God remains a huge mystery to me, but I know that He exists and is a spirit of love. Otherwise there wouldn't have been a Christ, or songs like the one just quoted or people caring as much as you seem to care about peace.

Happy Christmas to you, too, and a blessed new year.

At 1:35 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

Dear Tom, Thank you for sharing the words of Longfellow. I have always loved that poem. It rings as true now as it did in those other troubled times. May you continue to have courage and hope, and to speak the truth, as so many of us see it.
I wrote a poem for Last Chance Democracy Cafe. I would like to share it here, too. I have edited it a bit. I am forever editing my poems and touching up my paintings. I guess it keeps me out of the bars.

Where Can We See Him?

His face was painted on cathedral domes.
It graced the gilded chapels of kings.
Each age portrayed it differently
On tapestries and glowing glass,
As pious, precious offerings.
Chanting monks proclaimed His glory.
Symphonies rang forth.
Ancient texts and learned tomes
Were writ to tell His story.
And yet I ponder in my heart
About this gentle man,
Who never owned an ermine robe
Nor smallest piece of land.
He spoke of love and tolerance.
He lived amongst the poor.
He fought no wars. He offered peace.
His message has endured.
Millions claim to follow Him,
With eyes that cannot see,
Unless they seek His face anew
In suffering humanity.


At 7:19 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you for that poem, Patricia. Beautiful!

At 5:27 AM, Blogger sumo said...

Merry Christmas to you...and here's hoping the New Year brings some sanity to the administration. That's a tall order...


Post a Comment

<< Home