Christmastime Hope

Film Review | I Heard the Bells

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is commonly known as 'America's Poet,' and the recent film by Sight & Sound, brought the story behind the beautiful Christmas song to life. Watching Longfellow's story unfold on the big screen was a fascinating experience. 

Word quickly spread among our missionary staff about the quality and story of the movie and quite a few went to see it. We realize people are searching for hope during this Christmas season. Pain and loss can debilitate even the strongest person of faith. How do we overcome when our painful discomfort seems more than we can humanly bear?

We interviewed Mary Brock, one of our writing staff, about the recent film. Mary, you have written for our campus for many years. You expressed some sentiment toward this film we think would inspire others. What drew you to grab a ticket to go see this film? 

"One of my prized possessions is a book of children's poems that belonged to my aunt who was an English teacher. Longfellow was also called the children's poet. This small book has familiar titles, like The Village Blacksmith, Evangeline, The Song of Hiawatha and Paul Revere's ride. The movie depicts how the death and loss caused him to quit writing for a long time. The fact that he was able to overcome such tragedy and write again has made our history of American literature much richer."

"Looking at the themes Sight & Sound drew out of Longfellow's story, which seem to resonate with people today, I had no idea that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had been widowed twice. His second wife, Fannie died when her house dress was ignited by a candle. Longfellow tried to extinguish the flames but she did not survive the accident and was buried on their 18th wedding anniversary. Afterward, their oldest son enlisted in the Union army to fight in the Civil War. Henry received a telegram that his son had been shot during a battle. The location of the bullet put his son at risk of being paralyzed." 

"Watching Longfellow in the movie deal with so much hardship, while raising his children alone was impacting. His feelings of despair were overcome by hope as he listened to God. Now, whenever I hear 'I Heard The Bells,' I now know the story behind the song."

We hope you will all go out and watch the film.

This Christmas season, may you and your family be filled with the hope of Jesus Christ. He came to bring us salvation through His birth, life, and sacrifice on the cross. Let's trust the One who gave Himself for us. 


The song we have come to know through caroling has been redone by many artists over the years. Here's Casting Crown's rendition and lyrics to Longfellow's famous poem:

I heard the bells on Christmas dayTheir old familiar carols playAnd mild and sweet their songs repeatOf peace on Earth, good will to men
And the bells are ringing (peace on Earth)Like a choir they're singing (peace on Earth)In my heart I hear them (peace on Earth)Peace on Earth, good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head"There is no peace on Earth, " I saidFor hate is strong and mocks the songOf peace on Earth, good will to men
But the bells are ringing (peace on Earth)Like a choir singing (peace on Earth)Does anybody hear them? (Peace on Earth)Peace on Earth, good will to men
Then rang the bells more loud and deepGod is not dead, nor doth He sleep(Peace on Earth)(Peace on Earth)The wrong shall fail, the right prevailWith peace on Earth, good will to men
Then ringing, singing on its wayThe world revolved from night to dayA voice, a chime, a chant sublimeOf peace on Earth, good will to men
And the bells, they're ringing (peace on Earth)Like a choir they're singing (peace on Earth)And with our hearts, we'll hear them (peace on Earth)Peace on Earth, good will to men
Do you hear the bells, they're ringing? (Peace on Earth)The light, the angels singing (peace on Earth)Open up your heart and hear them (peace on Earth)Peace on Earth, good will to men
Peace on EarthPeace on EarthPeace on Earth, good will to men
Merry Christmas🎄
Tyler Tom

Written by Tyler Tom

You can find Tyler Tom roaming the Twin Oaks campus taking in the fresh sunshine, or sipping a hot latte in the Substation. Enamored by God's faithfulness, Tyler Tom gathers stories and interviews to share with you from what God's doing with His children among the nations.

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