A Christmas Message from Bishop Taylor

A Christmas Message from Bishop Taylor

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and Peace from our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
On December 25, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sat down and penned what some would say was his greatest poem. Longfellow was a 57-year-old widowed father of 6 children. His oldest son, Charley, had recently been severely wounded in a battle that took place in the Civil War. It was Christmas day, and many people were celebrating, but Longfellow was reminiscing the tragic and sorrowful days of the past year. Then he heard the Christmas bells ringing in Cambridge and the singing of “peace on earth” in the midst of this world of war, injustice and violence.
Opposites were clashing all around. On one hand there was the hope, peace, joy, and love that could be found with the coming of a Savior, while on the other hand there was war, death, and the splitting of a nation.
Yet, in the midst of bleak despair, Longfellow recounts to himself that God is alive and righteousness shall prevail.
Friends, 2020 has been a year of difficulties, tragedies, and numerous losses. Many of us find ourselves in the midst of our own bleak despair, but my prayer is we remain in the hope, peace, joy, and love found in Jesus.
I heard about a discussion that took place on the Holston Clergy Facebook page and was excited about a suggestion that was made for our churches to ring their bells on Christmas Day. What a wonderful way we can remind our neighbors God is still alive and his righteousness will prevail. So, at noon on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020, I would like to invite all of our churches to ring their church bells. Let us ring in the hope that is found in Jesus the Christ.
Thank you for all the ways you are being the hands and feet of Jesus in these most trying times. Your faithfulness, your endurance, and your innovation is truly inspiring. As you celebrate Advent and Christmas, and as you look toward the new year, please know you are on my heart and in my prayers.
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and remember God is with us, may you have a very Merry Christmas!
Bishop Dindy Taylor
Holston Conference
The United Methodist Church

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.”