Listener Christmas memories

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, December 26th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. This week on The World and Everything in It we’ve been closing our program with Christmas reflections from listeners.

And I’ve gotta say, Nick, how much I’ve enjoyed the differences we’ve heard already. We had a memory from Russia, a reflection from a Jamaican-Canadian listener, and then there was Joy Russell’s comments on the freedom we have as believers.

Yeah, and that was also noticeable in the varied Christmas reflections our staff shared yesterday. And we’ll hear it again from three more listeners today.

First up: Angela McCann.

MCCANN: Growing up in Kentucky, we were very poor. But yet our mother found ways to make the holidays exciting for us. She would cut up strips of red and green paper, and put then in a box, and then decorate another box that just had a small slit at the top.

Every time we did a good deed for another person, we would take a slip of paper and put it into the decorated box. On Christmas Eve we would glue all the papers together in a chain link and surround our Christmas tree with the good deeds and love that we had for each other.

I’ll never forget that special memory and how good it felt to know that our tree and our home was surrounded by love.

REICHARD: Oh my! What a great way to call attention to the good we each can do in this world. Love it!

EICHER: Oh, I do, too, and here’s another.

BRESTIN: My name is Dee Brestin. A tradition we have on Christmas Eve is that each family member has a little candle, and they light their flame from a big candle representing Jesus, the light of the world. And then when they light their candle, they share one way Jesus has been a light to them in the last year.

EICHER: And finally today, a young man reflects on the joyful perspective Christians can have despite the darkness of this world.

WATTERS: Hi, I’m Harrison Watters, and I’m a podcast technician for a leadership company here in Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve been listening to The World and Everything in It for a few months now, ever since my economics professor got me hooked on it.

This Christmas, I’ve been thinking about a little known Christmas carol called “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” written by a not-so-little-known poet named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

In the 1860s, Longfellow wrote this poem while thinking about what the world was like during Christmas during the Civil War. In the first verse of the poem, Longfellow talks about how he heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will toward men. And then he shifts and thinks about, no, there is no peace on earth because there have been battles like Antietam and Bull Run and Manassas Junction and over and over and over, all these bloody wars of Americans killing fellow Americans.

And so in the second verse he says, I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth, I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

But then he shifts because the bells rang again. And he says, 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 goodwill to men.

And this song is so hopeful right now and at any time of the year, but especially now when you see so many things going on in the culture, in the world around us, in our own hearts, our own homes where there is no peace, where hate is strong and mocks the song, where it does seem like there is no peace on earth. But we know that that’s not true. There is great peace that Christ has brought us. And so this Christmas I want to encourage you with the hope that God is not dead, nor does he sleep.

And so if you can, take the chance to listen to this song by Casting Crowns and you will be filled with hope and if you’re not, you should listen to the song again.

(Photo/Creative Commons)

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