"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I heard the Bells

I was doing a little research on the hymn I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and found that the original poem actually has 7 stanzas instead of the 5 most people know. Here is how the other two go:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

When added to the fact that this was written in 1864, we understand pretty quickly that these verses are about the Civil War. I found these verses particularly interesting because there is an absence of blame or side-taking. I have struggled with this war for sometime. Was the North really trying to end slavery? or was President Lincoln just a tyrant? Was the South really fighting for states' rights? Or were they using the Constitutional argument to shelter slave owners?
Slavery of this kind is obviously a grave moral problem...does it justify war?
Whatever your personal feelings about this issue, we can all agree that war is a horrible thing. Peace being drowned out by gun and cannon fire.

I urge you, my readers, to work actively for peace in the new year. But I would remind you, that true peace comes only through a relationship and knowledge of the Prince of Peace. We can work in the secular world for the absence of violence...but let's work in this new year for actual peace!

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