"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Literature Tuesday ..... The Christmas Bells

Shortly before Halloween I found a book that I purchased for story time to share with the 6-year-old: The Night Before Halloween, by: Natasha Wing. It was one of those kids books that you read with a grin and then think to yourself "why didn't I think of that!"

So after Halloween I looked and sure enough she had also written: The Night Before Thanksgiving.

So now that Thanksgiving is over we have begun reading the holiday classic: The Night Before Christmas.
Over the years I have read a lot of Christmas stories. Some were cute and cuddly like Santa Mouse by: Michael Brown. Some always made me cry but I had to read them, like The Little Match Girl by: Hans Christian Anderson. And some were just classics like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by: Dr. Seuss.
I could go on forever talking about the stories that remind me of being a kid at Christmas. I remember very vividly my mom reading me a chapter a night of this book called Uncle Wiggily Stories (It took me forever to find a link to this one)! But I remember every night she read a chapter I wanted her to read more! I still have this book and I have read it to my older son and I will read it to my youngest!

I have read all the classics:
The Nutcracker
And of course I have read the Bible story of the birth of Jesus!
But then in college, when I was trying to search for the meaning of life, the meaning of religion, the meaning of everything I learned to appreciate poetry - which I think is something that people should strive to appreciate and not necessarily understand. We covered poetry by Frost and Dickinson and Milton. The poem The Shivering Begger by Robert Graves made me giggle more than it should have.
But by the end of that semester I had come across Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and he was the one who reminded me what Christmas was about - it is about having faith in man when all evidence shows that you should not. So the last Christmas literature I will share today is the Christmas Bells.  
Christmas Bells
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
     And wild and sweet
     The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
      Had rolled along
      The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
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!
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!
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!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
     The Wrong shall fail,
     The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."                                                                                               

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