Peace on Earth
During the American Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s oldest son, Charles, joined the Union army without his father’s blessing. Longfellow was informed by a letter dated March 14, 1863, after Charles had left.
“I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave but I cannot any longer,” he wrote. “I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good”. Charles soon got an appointment as a lieutenant but, in November, he was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church, in Virginia.
Coupled with the recent loss of his wife Frances, who died as a result of an accidental fire, Longfellow was inspired to write the poem, “Christmas Bells”.
He wrote the poem on Christmas Day in 1864. It wasn’t until 1872 that the poem is known to have been set to music.
Hope you enjoy I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day performed by Casting Crowns on TBN special in 2008 :