Back in 2008 while listening to the radio, I heard Casting Crowns’ version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day“. I found the melody incredibly moving and when I examined the lyrics I saw a compelling message. I posted the video to my blog and then a year later one of my readers asked me to re-post it. And so it has become a sort of Rutherford Lawson Blog tradition.
I am not religious but the almost strident optimism in the song (based on a poem by Longfellow) cannot help but move the spirit. It reminds me, on a lighter note, of an old humorous story:
Two brothers were driving their father crazy. One brother was an eternal optimist and the other a pessimist. In the hope of showing his sons “the other side of the coin”, the father took the pessimist to a room piled high with toys. The boy began to cry. “Why are you crying,” asked the father, “look at all these toys!” The boy replied “yes so many toys that might break if I played with them.” Failing at that experiment, the father tried again with his optimistic son. He brought the boy to a barn piled high with horse manure. The boy joyfully jumped on top of the pile and started shoveling with his hands. “What in the world are you doing? Why are you so excited and happy?” asked the father. To which the gleeful boy replied:
With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!
And so we have a choice between optimism and pessimism. In the old Christmas song, the singer evolves from:
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
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.
With peace on Earth, good will to men.
The sound of the bells and their resemblance to the sound of children’s voices (children, being our future) inspired the singer. He trusted that God (or in my case perhaps hope) had not abandoned the world. I do believe that in the long run, the right prevails.
I wish happy holidays to my readers. In the spirit of self-fulfilling prophecy, let us all take this season to declare that tomorrow will be better than today.