Christmas and holiday thoughts …


By Jan Ebert



Editor’s note: This is one in a series of columns.

Here’s a toast to all of the local musicians!

High School Choir and Band members, Elementary and Middle schoolers, Church musicians – and special groups such as the Valley Horns, the Champaign County Youth Choir and the dulcimer groups – each of you has made a great effort to enrich our time of celebration. I’ve been privileged to hear you in many settings – every one bringing special messages to your audiences. Thank you.

I wish to share with you as my holiday greeting a great poem, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

This poem was written during the Civil War by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but its message rings true today. The music is reported to be by J. Baptiste Calkin, a composer of hymns and church organist in London, England. The tune is Waltham.

‘I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

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.

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.”

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.

By Jan Ebert

Jan Ebert is a retired music educator in Champaign County.

Jan Ebert is a retired music educator in Champaign County.