Monday, December 26, 2011

The Christmas Story

As a LifeCycles Christmas tradition, we share the story of one of America's most loved Christmas carols. The spirit of our nation lies deep within this song.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow composed this poem, which became the lyrics of a much-loved Christmas carol, America was still months away from General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

Longfellow had long despaired over the Civil War, as it reflected his own darkest personal despair. His beloved wife Fanny had died two years earlier. His oldest son Charles, a Lieutenant in the Army of the Potomoc, had been seriously wounded in the war.

Thankfully, Charles survived. It was the start of the hope for a future without war for Longfellow. He awoke on Christmas Day 1863, and felt the inspiration to write a poem looking forward toward better days. Longfellow captured the nation’s awakening as well, as the poem ends with a confident hope of triumphant peace.

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