Words to 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!

Credit: Christmas Bells, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The words to I heard the bells on Christmas Day ring daily during the Christmas season. We all love this beautiful song, but what does it mean? Let’s look into these beautiful lyrics for a deeper answer to this question.

“There is No Peace on Earth, I Said!”

The poet wrote this from his distress about the American Civil War. But it’s challenging to find a time in history when sabers aren’t rattling somewhere, when there aren’t “wars or rumors of wars (Mark 13:7).” Or times when evil and perversions don’t rule the day:

“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!”

Credit: Christmas Bells

There’s Only Hate

Yes, the hate in the world mocks the song!  “The song” is the angels’ chorus announcing Jesus’ birth:

“Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.’

Luke 2:13-14

Where’s God’s Promise?

It was Announced

These angels are God’s messengers, so this peace is God’s promise. Where is that peace?

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of the end, and does not lie.

 If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:3

No Universal Peace

Yes, universal peace will come. But Jesus knew it was for an appointed time, a time yet to come (the end):

“Do not think that I (Jesus) have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s foes will be those of his own household.”

Matthew 10:34-36

Jesus Brought Peace with God

Not Universal Peace

Jesus did bring peace, but it’s not (yet) universal peace. That peace is for a future time. Jesus brought peace between God and people, but that’s only for those who believe in His Name.

“Peace I (Jesus) leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27

Peace for Believers

Jesus accomplished peace with God for all people by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. He’s accomplished eternal redemption. So, we, too, have peace with God when we believe in Jesus:

“Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 5:1

When Jesus Rules

Yes, the Christmas baby—Jesus–brought us peace, and He will bring us peace:

  • Those who believe in Jesus’ Name have peace with God as a present possession.
  • Those who haven’t yet believed will receive peace with God when they believe.
  • Universal peace will come, but it’s for a time yet to come. Jesus will return to rule the earth and establish universal peace. When He rules, He will fulfill God’s Christmas promise of peace on earth and good will to men.

Reflect on these words to I heard the bells on Christmas Day.

Then pealed the bells louder and deeper: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

 The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Credit: Christmas Bells

Lyrics to I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Let’s look at the words to I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Take time to reflect on God’s to mankind through the birth of Jesus Christ.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of 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 said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of 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 deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
(Peace on Earth)
(Peace on Earth)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men

Then 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

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 Earth
Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth, good will to men

Please enjoy another favorite Christmas Song to help set your heart for the true meaning of Christmas

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If this video connected with you in some way, and you’d like to find out more about having a relationship with God and how His forgiveness and grace applies to you, a great place to start is praying the prayer below. The words themselves aren’t magic, but if you earnestly pray them and mean them, God will hear you! He’ll help you in ways you don’t understand, and we’ll help you find support and next steps.

The Prayer

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray,

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