Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote prolifically, creating one of the greatest collections of American poetry. 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.
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.
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.]