Christmas 2014 Statement


                On behalf of the members of the Chaplaincy Program, I would like to offer to the members of the Rio family a hearty Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. (To the Jewish members of the Rio family, I offer wishes for a Happy Chanukah)

The Chaplains might remind all of us of the importance of Christmas by referring us to the words of Isaiah 9:6:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Christmas is, of course, a religious holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is also a federal holiday, made so by President Ulysses Grant during his first term.  A few years before Grant’s election, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem, later set to music, as the song “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”.  Longfellow wrote the poem during the tumult of the American Civil War.  Our modern world still has its upheavals, thus the words in this song, and the message of the Baby in a manger, still have relevance in our 21st Century world.


William E. Plants   -Chaplaincy Coordinator

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.

I thought how, as day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

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, god 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.”

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.

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