Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote prolifically, creating one of the greatest collections of American poetry, much of which depicted the history of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. He published the first of his many poems at only 13 years old.
In his personal life, Henry married but the marriage ended tragically with the death of his wife Mary from complications of a miscarriage. It is said he sank into suicidal depression after her death.
However, he again found happiness with his second wife, Fanny, with whom he had six children. Again, tragedy struck when she was severely burned from candle wax and died soon after. Henry was burned trying to help her, and may have grown his well-known beard to hide the scars on his face. During the American Civil War his son Charley fought for the Union ; he suffered severe wounds, from which he recovered under the care of his father. During this time, Henry wrote Christmas Bells.
Despite, and perhaps due to his family’s medical challenges, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote poetry that touched people’s hearts and minds then and now.
Go here to read The True Story of Pain and Hope behind this beloved Christmas carol
The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]
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