Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Radio Memories: Thursday Gift

"Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men" has proven an elusive goal for mankind; maybe that's why the expression touches us as it does. Like the admonition to "act your age!" that gets thrown at very young children, we are bidden to reach up and out beyond our self, towards something imagineable while still being unseen.

I've often wondered what the prayer meant to those who heard it said during Christmas 1945, the first post-war Christmas. With all those memories of war, did a vision of Peace seem easier, or harder, to imagine?

As Christmas Eve promises us a day of Peace come the dawn, we slip in yet another Christmas Radio Memory, from that memory-filled 1945 Christmas. Today's episode in our countdown to Christmas was originally broadcast Christmas Eve, 1945, and features the happiest comedy series on radio, The Great Gildersleeve. This series in particular, dealing as it did with day-to-day life on a micro-scale few other shows ever matched, offers us today a wonderful window back to that wartime era, leaving us echoes of a world reaching for a measure of peace after so many years of conflict.

Christmas 1945 must have been a joyous occasion for some, yet to others a time when their loss would be more keenly felt than ever. And so it was, a century and a half before tomorrow, when a father heard the news of his son's injury placing him on death's door, and tried to channel his sorrow towards a message of peace, so that someone else could come just that much closer to finding a way to live, as we should, in joyful hope.

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
Like a choir they're singing
In my heart I hear them
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
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang 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

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
Like a choir they're singing
And with our hearts we'll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing?
The life the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

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1 comment:

truepeers said...

All the best to you, Charles, Dag, and all our readers. Merry Christmas!