Advent Words from Longfellow


Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




"I heard the bells on Christmas Day"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote prolifically, creating one of the greatest collections of American poetry, which depicted the history of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. He published the first of his poems at 13 years old.

Henry’s first marriage ended tragically with his wife Mary’s death from complications of a  miscarriage. He sank into suicidal depression after her death.

He regained  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, and his father cared for him until he recovered. 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.

Christmas tree, statues of old man and a boy

photo by Dr. Aletha




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.]

Please follow this blog every week for more Advent Words as we Christians observe this solemn season.

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