Deals, steals, and news from author Michelle Isenhoff.

Did you know that Christmas didn't become a national American holiday until 1870? It's true! President Ulysses S. Grant officialized it five years after the Civil War. But that doesn't mean Americans didn't already celebrate it. During the long years of conflict, a holy day that celebrated peace on Earth was particularly poignant. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem entitled "Christmas Bells" on Christmas 1863, after receiving word that his son had been severely injured in the war. The poem later became the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Much later, Bing Crosby recorded and popularized verses 1, 2, 6, and 7, but I'm going to include the poem in its entirety below. Now that you know to look for it, you'll see the Civil War context. 

After an exceedingly difficult year, I think Americans can commiserate with Mr. Longfellow, though our circumstances are different. Notice the hope found in the final verse. Still true! Ultimately, good will win out over evil. And if America would subject itself to that Child in the manger once again, I believe He'd happily pour out his blessings on us much sooner.

If you enjoy historical fiction, My Ella Wood series contains a great deal of Civil War context, Christmas and otherwise. Book one, Ella Wood, is always free. Grab a copy and treat yourself to an early present!

Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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."

Before you go, be sure to check out the books and promos featured below. They're always free or bargain priced. I generally bounce between speculative and historical fiction (the main genres I write in), and sometimes some fantasy, middle grade, or a bit of romance, just to keep things interesting. 

Happy reading!


If you'd no longer like to receive these emails, please unsubscribe. But consider following me on BookBub or Amazon for notice of new releases. Or sign up for my own New Release List, which is only active when I release a new book—you will automatically be unsubscribed from this list.

New Releases

Deals and steals:

Current Promos:

View all Michelle's books.

Michelle Isenhoff

A former teacher and longtime homeschooler, MICHELLE ISENHOFF writes for children and adults. Her work has been reader-nominated for a Cybils Award, the Great Michigan Read, and the Maine Student Book Award. Michelle writes from Michigan where she bikes all summer and wears flip-flops all winter.