The Christmas Carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is based on an 1863 poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was the nation’s preeminent poet of his era. The song proclaims the narrator’s despair, as he heard Christmas bells in the distance.
He bows his head, “There is no peace on earth,” [he] said,
“for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.”
But then the carol inexplicably changes with the bells carrying renewed hope for peace among mankind.
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.”
So why the change and how did the poem come to be?
It is good that war is so terrible, lest we become too fond of it. ~~ General Robert E. Lee ~~
Time for another Music Monday and since this is the holiday season this latest installment will be all about… what else? Christmas!
Even in the depths of bitter war Christmas can bring its indelible influence and for a short time, peace on earth, goodwill toward men can rise above the carnage. Probably no better example is the legendary Christmas Truce of 1914. It was a brief pause in a violent and desperate fight between British and German soldiers on the Western Front during what was called by earlier generations the Great War… more commonly known today as World War One.
This true event made world-wide news and was later memorialized in a ballad as seen through the eyes of a fictional British officer Francis Tolliver. The song was written by American folk singer and story-teller John McCutcheon. My favorite version is performed by the Scottish-Canadian tenor John McDermott. Continue reading →
Thanksgiving and the controversy surrounding premature Christmas music and Black Friday taken to the extreme is now behind us. Lately, it seems there’s been an onslaught against Thanksgiving. One day meant to be spent with family and friends has become little more than looking ahead to a late night/early morning/next day venture to the malls and big box stores. All to take advantage of so-called door-buster deals, among the maddening crowds and frenzied shoppers. Thanksgiving should come first! More about this… next year.
I received an email a few weeks ago. You know the kind that are sent en masse to all our contacts. The same I’m guilty of sending occasionally myself. It was a message I thought worth sharing which I did among those on my personal email list and now with you. It turns out its been widely distributed, not only in email, but among newspapers, blogs and other web sites, even on Facebook. You could definitely say, Its gone viral!
If its message doesn’t make sense during these tough financial times for American families and business — especially during the holiday season — then I don’t know what does. If we were to start this tradition it would make a huge difference making this year one of the most memorable Christmases ever. I have no idea who originally wrote this… but I’ve edited and added to it to fit my own style. My apologies to readers living outside our borders. This is all about America. Continue reading →
It was two weeks ago today, the morning of November 3rd. Walking through a Walmart and what did I hear? The all-too familiar strains of …
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Ring ting tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
That’s right… sing along with me! It was the song Sleigh Ride. Christmas music a full 52 days before the blessed day. And it’s been running non-stop ever since at the world’s largest retailer! People tell me they heard it in other stores the same week as well. Here at my local Starbucks — as I write this — you’ll hear an occasional Christmas song, that’s all. Much better than wall-to-wall Walmart.
Now we’ll be hearing two months of Christmas music. Last year I noted it was still playing in stores well beyond January 1st. And what for?
To celebrate the birth of Christ? I don’t think so…. Obviously it’s for the proverbial almighty dollar. The only ring ting tingling dancin’ in the retailer’s heads is the ka-ching of their cash registers. While a tingling feeling fondles the back of their neck with the thought of big profits and hopes for a banner shopping season! Retailers, wanting to spread the good cheer, dear reader want you — Walmart shoppers et al — to begin thinking of the holidays and start the spending early. As if we need reminded of any of it. Continue reading →