Category Archives: hymns of prose

Christmas Carols in Prose #14: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Sculpture of old bells from the Sterkrade bell-tower ("Glocken aus dem Glockenturm in Sterkrade, als Denkmal vor dem Bahnhof aufgehangen"). Photo by Anne-theatre. CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Sculpture of old bells from the Sterkrade bell-tower. Photo by Anne-theatre. CC-BY-SA 3.0.

On Christmas day I heard the bells play their old familiar carols, and they repeated wildly and sweetly the words “peace on earth, good will to men.”

I thought how at the coming of day the Christian world’s belfries had rolled along the unbroken song, “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

I bowed my head in despair. I said, “There is no peace on earth, for hate is strong. It mocks the song of ‘Peace on earth, good will to men.'”

Then the bells pealed louder and deeper: “God isn’t dead or asleep. The wrong will fail, and the right will prevail with ‘peace on earth, good will to men.'”

The bells pealed until the world revolved from night to day, ringing and singing as a voice, a chime, and a sublime chant of “peace on earth, good will to men!”

[Original Text: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Christmas Carols in Prose #13: The First Noel

Cover image from Christmas 1898 Harper's Magazine

An over-the-top-dramatic Star of Bethlehem from the cover image of the Christmas 1898 Harper’s Magazine. By Harvey Ellis.

The first “Noel” the angel said was to certain poor shepherds as they lay in fields—in fields where they lay while keeping their sheep on a cold, deep winter night. Noel! The king of Israel is born!

They looked up and saw a star shining far beyond them in the east. It gave great light to earth and continued like that both day and night. Noel! The king of Israel is born!

[Original Text: traditional carol, author unknown]

Christmas Carols in Prose #12: Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains

The Angelic Announcement to the Sheperds by Taddeo Gaddi

The Angelic Announcement to the Sheperds by Taddeo Gaddi

Shepherds of old far, far away on Judea’s plains heard the joyous melody: “Glory in the highest to God. Let there be peace on earth and goodwill to everyone!”

This melody of redeeming love is a sweet message of mercy from heaven above. “Glory in the highest to God. Let there be peace on earth and goodwill to everyone!”

We would rejoice with the angels, too, Lord. Help us to sing with the heart and voice: “Glory in the highest to God. Let there be peace on earth and goodwill to everyone!”

Hasten the time when people from all regions shall unite in the sublime melody: “Glory in the highest to God. Let there be peace on earth and goodwill to everyone!”

[Original Text: John Menzies Macfarlane]