Seeking U.N. sanctions against Iran, December 21, 1979, President Jimmy Carter stated in a speech:
“Henry Longfellow wrote a Christmas carol in a time of crisis, the War Between the States, in 1864.
Two verses of that carol (“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”) particularly express my thoughts and prayers and, I’m sure, those of our Nation in this time of challenge…
I would like to quote from that poem:
‘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 does he sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.'”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a professor at Harvard, where he taught Phillips Brooks, who was born DECEMBER 13, 1835.
Phillips Brooks became the Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts. While on a trip to the Holy Land in 1865, he wrote:
“After an early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem…
It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens.
It is a good-looking town, better built than any other we have seen in Palestine…
Before dark, we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star.
It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds…
As we passed, the shepherds were still ‘keeping watch over their flocks or leading them home to fold.'”
Phillips Brooks returned to Massachusetts in September of 1866 and wrote the carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:
“O little town of Bethlehem!
How still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth,
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears
of all the years,
Are met in thee tonight.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
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