christmases past

This popped up on YouTube and I want to share this rendition of “I Heard the Bells” with you all. The pictures of the Civil War battles reminded me of my great-great-grandfather, William Henry Winslow, who died in December, 1862, at the Battle of Fredericksburg. His name is etched on the Civil War monument in Nantucket.

My father spent Christmas, 1943, at Cape Gloucester on New Britain, as the First Marine Division fought to secure New Guinea. He didn’t talk about it, preferring to tell stories of his hilariously good time in Australia earlier that year. It’s hard to believe that was almost eighty years ago.

Such different Decembers.

Banjo Man returned home from Viet Nam shortly before Christmas, 1967.  No Nebraska farm boy was ever happier to be back where he belonged.

Some holidays are filled with unimaginable happiness, others painfully spent grieving loved ones and remembering different times.  Some are quiet.  Peaceful, even.  Others a riotous time of presents and laughter and happy noise.

And so this Christmas Eve I wish you a Christmas that brings you joy, wherever you are and whatever you are doing and whoever you choose to spend it with.

Christmas Bells

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – 1807-1882

  • 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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3 Responses to christmases past

  1. Marjorie Fridrich says:

    Beautiful- – all!!

    My great grandfather also died in the Civil War. He is the 4 th buried in Soldier’s Circle in Wyuka Cemetary in Lincoln, Ne.
    I will recall the battle. The land “then owned” by relatives. I have never taken time to research that.
    Merry, grateful Christmas.

  2. rbnorth66 says:

    Beautiful Kristine. Thank you.

  3. Ruth says:

    Amen, dear friend…Amen!

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