Friday, December 23, 2011

Bells Across the Snow for those who are sad

 For many, the Christmas season is a hard time for various reasons. For some, the loss of loved ones is more keenly felt this time of year. For others the bright wrapping and lilting carols stand in contrast to an ongoing struggle with sadness, or serious illness.

That’s why I’ve always appreciated that on Christmas Eve the devotional, Streams in the Desert, carries the poem , “Bells Across the Snow” by one of my favorite hymn writers, Frances Ridley Harvegal (Take My Life and Let it Be). It speaks to the tension between sorrow and joy, which almost everyone at some time in their life, experiences at Christmas.

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain?
There's a minor in the carol,
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath to-night.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
'Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow;
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee.
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good-will,
With holy songs of glory
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."

The Christmas after my mother died,  I wondered whether I’d be able to celebrate that year. But as Christmas drew near, God gave me a song which carried me through the season. I posted it last December. You may read it again here, and I hope that for any who are struggling, God will use it to encourage your heart.

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