What does Canto 30 of In Memoriam suggest about Tennyson's views of religion?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this section of this tremendous poem, the speaker describes one Christmas soon after Hallam's death where he is struggling to get into the festive spirit, burdened as he is by the death of Hallam and his grief. However, he and his friends gradually find hope and consolation in the promise of the afterlife in Christianity:

Our voices took a higher range;
Once more we sang: ‘They do not die
Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
Nor change to us, although they change...'

What enables the speaker and his friends to enjoy Christmas and to celebrate it with glad hearts is the promise of the afterlife enshrined in Christianity. The final stanza of the poem indicates the very strong Christian beliefs of Tennyson and the way he places his faith in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, who, through his birth, life and death, gives all who believe in him hope of eternal life:

Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
O Father, touch the east, and light
The light that shone when Hope was born.

Note the reference to Christ as being personified in "Hope." The speaker is clearly Christian, and is able to combat his depression and sadness at the loss of his friend with the hope that they will meet again in the afterlife.

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