Christmas Greetings from Bukal Life Care

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “Christmas Bells” during the American Civil War, arguably the first “modern war”– the bloodiest war in American history. Longfellow contrasts the church bells ringing celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the associated paean of the angelic hosts of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to man,” with the violence of the war– a war commonly of Christian brother against Christian brother. Tied to this struggle, Longfellow had the tragedy of the recent death of his wife, and news of his son’s grave injury on the battlefield.

His resolution is similar to the book of Habakkuk, where tragedy and hope are allowed to intermingle.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)where the tension of the contrast is allowed to remain… but with the confidence that God, ultimately, will prevail and bring peace and joy.

We at Bukal Life Care, wish you a blessed Holiday Season, and 2017. We know that some struggle to identify God’s blessing in their lives. It is beyond our ability to resolve this in your hearts and minds. For now, we can offer the words of two who have wrestled with the pain in life, and their ultimate faith in God’s goodwill. So here are  words of Longfellow (identified by many in the carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”) and the last few verses from the Prophet Habakkuk.

Christmas Bells (1863)

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.”


Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will triumph in Yahweh;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountain heights!
                   Habakkuk 3:17-19