Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a celebrated writer who, at the pinnacle of his career, was affected by the tragic death of his wife in 1861. … That year, as Longfellow sat at his desk on Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing in the distance. His heart, though burdened, longed for God’s help and peace. When he put pen to paper that day, he wrote the following words, lines that eventually became a beloved Advent carol:
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!
—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)
In what ways are you longing for God’s help and peace? Join the conversation.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
—Psalm 43:5 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Emmanuel, God who is with us, help me remember you are near every day of the year.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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