Friday, October 18, 2013

Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Don't panic. Yes, it is the middle of October, not mid-December. But, if you have children performing things for Christmas at church, recitals, concerts, & the like, you have started hearing Christmas music being practiced in your home.

My oldest child had been practicing the Casting Crown version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day for a group at church. Sadly, that isn't going to happen now for various reasons (not because of her - ah, the accompanists life). However, the song has stuck with me and for whatever reason, it has resonated with my soul this year.

The history behind it Longfellow's poem Christmas Bells interesting and inspired by events in his life at the time. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words during the American Civil War (it was published in 1866).  Apparently, his son went to fight in the Civil War against his father's wishes and ended up being seriously wounded. Mr. Longfellow also lost his wife during this time period as well due to an accidental fire.

While we don't have cannons going off here in the USA (let's keep it that way - okay?), we do have much evil in the world and we are pummeled with it daily, via the media, to such an extent that we may often feel that, as Longfellow said in the poem,

"And in despair I bowed my head; 
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

Yet, much like it says in the song My Father's World 

This is my Father's world.  
 O let me ne'er forget 
 that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
 God is the ruler yet.  
Longfellow comes back and reiterates:

 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.

While we won't have true Peace on Earth until Christ returns, we can look for the bits of peace and goodness out there in the world around us. We can continue to pray for peace and anxiously await his return.

So, while my daughter may not be playing the Casting Crowns version of Longfellow's poem on the piano this year, we will still be memorizing Longfellow's original poem this year as a family. I have put the words below (and they are going up on the whiteboard shortly in my house).

If you are not familiar with the Casting Crowns rendition, here is a (link) video with words of their song:

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Knowledge of Man - Art & Music

This summer, I had the opportunity to go to the Art Institute of Chicago with all 4 of my children, a wonderful friend & her daughter who were visiting from Australia, and another wonderful friend & her husband from Indiana. We had a wonderful time (well....except when the little ones had had enough... ;) ).. But, the best part was being able to see the paintings of the masters up close - not just a small print on the bulletin board by the dining room table. 

There was a special exhibit called Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity going on during the time of our visit. They had taken the masterpieces and recreated the clothing shown in the paintings. For my oldest, it was pure bliss. Our children participate in historical reenactments several times a year with some dear friends. Those friends also have made the clothes for them to wear and taught my oldest daughter about what makes a dress (or guys outfit as well) appropriate to their time period and what things changed as time went on. As we walked through the exhibit she went from dress to dress explaining the time periods and why. It was so fun. Then for her to see them so beautifully done on canvas was such fun for her. The outfits themselves were truly works of art.

So, with that, on to the Carnival!

This edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival's topic is...
Knowledge of Man: Art & Music

Find out more HERE about upcoming carnival topics & how to get yourself on the e-mail list to receive reminders and announcements so that you never miss another edition.

Submit any Charlotte Mason Education posts on any topic at any time to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com!