Hope in the midst of darkness: the message of Easter

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the disciples of Jesus Christ on that first Easter?

  • to watch while Judas, one of their own, betrayed Jesus and handed him over to a band of men with weapons (John 18:3)
  • to stand by (except for Peter, who swung his sword and cut off one of the servant’s ears) while men bound and led away their master, hero, and leader (John 18:10-13)
  • for Peter to remember that Jesus had predicted all the disciples would flee and then hear the cock crow after he had denied one of his best friends, three times (John 18:16-27)
  • to listen while false charges were brought against Jesus, to hear Pilate say, “I find in him no fault at all,” and yet watch as Pilate delivered him over to be crucified (John 18:28-19:16
  • to watch Jesus go through the horrific death by crucifixion, knowing he was innocent (John 19:17-37)
  • to wonder what happened to their Messiah, the King of Kings. Why He was dead, and buried in a tomb, while they still lived under the oppression they thought He had come to save them from?

We know that the story did not end there. We know that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and showed himself to the disciples and over 500 other people.

“The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence.  Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” (Clarence W. Hall)

Easter Hope

We all experience difficulties in our lives. No one is exempt. Some difficulties don’t last long; others drag on for weeks, months, and years. Where do we find hope to keep going in the midst of those dark times?

I find my hope in Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. What about you? Share what you celebrate during this season.



Musical Countdown to Christmas: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Musical Christmas4

Who was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

  • Born in Maine in 1807
  • The second child of eight
  • Enjoyed writing and planned many writing projects with his friend William Browne
  • Published his first poem at age 13
  • Attended Bowdoin College along with Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Learned seven different languages and taught French, Spanish, and Italian at Bowdoin
  • First book (travelogue) was Outre Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea (1835)
  • Married Mary Potter, who died of a complicated miscarriage
  • Suffered from depression
  • Fell in love with Fanny Appleton (but Fanny didn’t reciprocate for seven long years)
  • Started teaching at Harvard University in 1836
  • Became popular worldwide as a poet and writer
  • Resigned from Harvard in 1857, a self-sustaining author
  • In 1861 Henry sustained burns trying to rescue Fanny from a house fire; Fanny died on their 18th wedding anniversary
  • In 1863 Henry’s son, Charles, ran off and joined the civil war against his father’s wishes
  • Has been described as a traveller, a linguist, and a romantic

The Story behind I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

  • Henry’s son, Charles, was a soldier in the Union Army
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words in December 1863 as he sat at the bedside of his son Charles, who was injured in the war
  • Original Title: Christmas Bells
  • You can find the full text of the poem on Hymns and Carols of Christmas
  • Watch the video below to hear more of the story and a stirring rendition of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

Historical Context of the Song

  • Written in the middle of the American Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Over 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in this war due to either battle or disease
  • Harriet Tubman freed slaves
  • “Missa Solemnis,” by Franz Schubert was performed in Leipzig
  • “Les Pêcheurs de Perles,” by George Bizet premiered in France

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today

Enter your comment below for a chance to win a copy of a dramatized version of Oliver Twist (written in 1838 by Charles Dickens).

Oliver Twist