Create a Christmas with Purpose: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

by | From the Nest, Holidays

In this series of finding purpose in the Christmas season, we are drawing from the words of a poem written in 1863. Let peace be part of your Christmas purpose this year.

Bells are very on trend this Christmas season.  I can’t say exactly what I think it is that is making them so popular, except they are the very definition of joy and festivity!

From a decor view, I love the symbolism they bring into our home.  They also add some interesting texture, shape, and the traditional golds of Christmas.  Keep reading to the end and I’ll share how we did this bell garland DIY!

It’s a trend that I hope stays around for a very long time!  My husband hopes so too because he is really excited to help me hang these bells up again for many years to come. 😂 (A little sarcasm there…😂)

I also love that the bells remind me of one of my favorite Christmas poems, eventually turned into a Christmas hymn.

In 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “Christmas Bells”, right in the middle of the Civil War.  The text “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men” certainly rang true in those dark years.

158 years later, there is a lot of darkness.  Division, frustration, cultural tensions, sickness…it’s all part of our 2021 Christmas, whether we want to admit it or not.

Thankfully, neither the poem or the story ends there.  Let’s take a look…and if you’re very familiar with Longfellow’s work, I still think it is worth a few minutes for a re-read of these words:

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!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till 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!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of 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!”

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, good-will to men.”

Who am I to try to add to that poem’s end?  Full of hope for peace and goodwill.

However, reflection leaves us wondering just how we can do our part to create peace and goodwill.

And I’m reminded of words I have said and written many times:

I can bring goodwill and hope and peace to my circle of influence.  Right now, my immediate circle of influence is right within the walls of my home.

I would describe my blog and social media as a home decor account.  But there is a bigger purpose.  Christmas decorating isn’t just for all the fuss and show and perfectly festive touches.  To me, it is much deeper.  In the creative ways God has blessed me with, I am doing my part to bring an environment of peace and hope and goodwill to my little family.

I think of it as setting the stage.  And while all of those things come from the heart, our environment and what we surround ourselves with does matter and it does make a difference.

Spreading goodwill to my family.

I promised you a quick tutorial on this DIY bell garland that Robb helped me make.  Admittedly, there was a moment (or two) where goodwill was doubtful. 😂 But he figured out how to get it to stay and all has stayed peaceful.

However, Robb says that if those bells come crashing down in the night, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” would turn into “Do You Hear What I Hear?” 😂😂 Thankfully, they have stayed put and are making this whole space feel so festive!

I picked these bells up at Hobby Lobby back in October.  I’m not sure if they are still in stock, but for 50% off, it’s worth checking online and calling around the stores in your area!

We cut a small branch and stripped it of leaves.  I strung the bells in a way that would feel somewhat random but still be balanced visually.  Robb wrapped twine around the middle and then it loops around the branches at each end a few times.

He put one nail in each end of the cabinet, in a high spot where the small hole will never show.  I supported the branch and bells while he wrapped the twine around the nail as tightly as possible.  (This is important to hold it taut.). He then tied the twine to secure it.

I honestly wasn’t at all sure that we could get the bells to stay up without lots of nails and supports (which we didn’t want to do to this antique apothecary, of course).  I am very thankful that it worked because it’s one of my favorite things in our home for Christmas!

I love the bells, the symbolism, and the reminder of hope and goodwill for each and every one of us.

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  













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