December 22, 2014

Happy Monday and Merry Christmas!

I hope you have enjoyed the season as much as I have. It’s been unusually sweet.

I have especially enjoyed the music of Christmas. I’m glad it’s only played for about a month each year. It seems the songs are almost new!

The old carols that have stood the test of time are still thrilling to me.

A local radio station here has had a contest for listeners to name the number one Christmas song. After it was narrowed down to ten, each being a favorite, the winner was “O Holy Night.”

That surprised and pleased me.

I guess I thought “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or “White Christmas” (both among the nominees) would win. It says to me that the winner reveals what really is the heart of Christmas to most people.

All of the carols are beautiful, especially hearing them in the stores and public places.

But I think often I don’t really understand the words and messages they bring.medium_921061938c

Such is the case with “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” It has a profound message.

I learned that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the lyrics in 1863, during the Civil War. He had been left a widower and then became the nurse to his son who had been shot in the war.

Yet, his words were surprisingly encouraging in the first stanzas.

Then it seemed the thought of war and another son enlisted to fight brought a sense of despair.

“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, good will to men.”

But Longfellow’s faith prevailed as he wrote:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

A very good message for us today! There have been very few years when war hasn’t raged somewhere.

There are still battles to be won, in the world and in our lives.

As I sang at a church function last week “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” I thought about the fact that the baby in the manger grew up!

And because He did and became a servant, even unto death, there will be peace on earth. What a hope we have!

The rest of the story is, Longfellow’s son didn’t die, and his poem was set to music by J. Calkin. And we can ring out:

“Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Thank you, Mr. Longfellow.

16 thoughts on “December 22, 2014

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this about the song. It helps to understand why it says what it does. Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BLESSED NEW YEAR!!!


  4. Mrs. Hyles, thank you so much for your blog. It is always thoughtful, positive, and uplifting. My wife Rhonda and I enjoy it every Monday.


  5. Merry Christmas Mrs. Hyles. Thank you for your continued gifts throughout this year through your writings. You are still an encouragement and inspiration. Keep on keeping on:) We love you!


  6. Thank you Mrs. Hyles that you, like Longfellow, have prevailed and kept on keeping on when it must have seemed, at times, that all hope was lost too. Your words strengthen and inspire me each Monday. Oh how I wish that I could see you this Christmas and tell you to your face, “I love you!” Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  7. I would love to hear you sing “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” again in person!! That was always one of my favorite Christmas traditions. It’s so sweet to me to know that you are still singing that song and loving the Lord and serving the Lord and happy. Thanks so much for sharing your heart each week. I treasure that very much. Merry Christmas to you & your family.


  8. Dear Mrs. Hyles, thank you so much for this special blog. I too wish I could have heard you sing, Sweet Little Jesus Boy. The Gray family always looked forward to hearing you sing it at Christmas time while we were at First Baptist Church. Thank you also for the history of the song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day. The words never made any sense to me but, I just sang along anyway. Now each time I hear it the song will have a special meaning to me. God bless, take and a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from the Bob Gray Sr. family.


  9. I remember you singing that every year at FBC. My grandmother Lucille Laity would look forward to it all year. Thank you for the sweet message today.


  10. Great article.

    Would have loved to hear you sing, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” again. That was my favorite at FBC to hear.

    Thank you for the article, thoughts and great memories.


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