18 January, 2022

Hear the Bells Again

by | 13 December, 2021 | 0 comments

By Randy Ballinger

Christmas Day 1863 was not joyful for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. On that day, he was concerned his eldest son would not survive surgery after being shot while serving as a soldier in the Union Army. While he waited, his mind focused not only on the well-being of his son, but also, no doubt, on his wife who died just two years earlier in a horrible fire. Add to that the mental strife caused by the ongoing Civil War, and it was more than he thought he could endure. For Longfellow, the bells of Christmas fell silent as he penned these words:

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.”

But Longfellow refused to stop listening. It was as if he heard “a voice, a chime, a chant sublime” reminding him of the truth of God until, from the silence,

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.”

Have the bells been silenced for you this Christmas season? Maybe, for the first time in your life, your father is not around to celebrate with you. Maybe the pandemic is taking its toll on you physically or mentally or both. Perhaps you’re burdened with the relentless spiritual attacks of the evil one.

Whatever has caused the bells to be silent in your life, don’t stop listening! Be attentive—the truth of God resounds by gathering around this table.

God knows his creation has been ravaged by Satan and infected by sin. He knows you are its victim. And, through Jesus Christ, he has done something about it.

He didn’t come with a sudden display of might, but with a silent display of vulnerability—as a baby in a manger.

He did not remain a faraway Creator, but became “Emmanuel,” God with us! He lived among us, identified with us, even wept while here.

He died for us so we wouldn’t have to. He overcame death and sin.

In a word, God gave us hope . . . hope through Jesus Christ.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith . . . may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6-9).

If we listen intently as we gather around this table, we will hear “the unbroken song of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Randy Ballinger lives with his wife, Gina Ann, near New Paris, Ohio. He is an elder with the Centerville (Indiana) Christian Church.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Draining the Cup

As we gather around the Lord’s table, consider two things about this “cup of death” Jesus drained: (1) the potency of the cup, and (2) the resolve of the one who drank from it.

Jan. 23 | Righteous Remnant

Romans 9–11 is often neglected in many Christian churches. Depending on where one falls on the nuances of Calvinism and millennialism, the content is challenging. . . .

Jan. 23 | Application

The word “leftover” sounds stale and unappealing. The Law of Moses instructed the Israelites to give the firstfruits of their labors, not the scraps. However, the Bible also has some positive things to say about leftovers . . .

Jan. 23 | Discovery

How did Jesus cause some people to stumble and fall and others to “never be put to shame”?

Follow Us