In addition to all the wonderful hymns about Christmas, one of my favorite, “non hymn” Christmas songs is “Carol of the Bells.” It often reminds me of the Christmas celebrations at my church growing up.
As a little girl sitting in the pew, I would anxiously await this presentation. Then carefully watch men, women and kids dressed in long robes playing the bells. Each hand was covered with special gloves as the arms waited in a military style format, by the side of the body, ready to ring the bells. “How can their hands be so still?” I would think, knowing my own hands would be disobedient, wanting to grab each bell to ring it loud and long.
I could not figure out how in the world a little instrument such as a bell can make a lasting memorable sound. These sounds would reach to the top of the church ceiling and as soon as the sound hit the ceiling it went all the way around to the four walls filling the church with an overflow of music. Talk about surround sound. Sometimes the sound was so permeating it left the audience with a ringing in our ears.
The lyrics of this Christmas song describe how these joyous holiday bells, in unison, are calling out to each ear and speaking to each hearer to throw all their cares away because Christmas is here bringing cheer to all ages, weak or strong. The second and third stanza emphasizes the overall quest of the bells by repeating its goal over and over again. The following stanzas underline and highlight the message even more. Taking it up a notch, by raising the sound of the volume to call out to those at a distance, welcoming them to join in. What are they joining in on? The bells! Proclaiming well wishes of Merry Christmas to each home.
The “Carol of the Bells” also reminds me so much of the first epistle of John chapter 1 verse 1 to 4.
“That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard with the present result that is ringing in our ears, that which we have discerningly seen with our eyes with the present result that it is in our mind’s eye, that which we gazed upon was spectacle and our hands handled with a view to investigation, that which is concerning the Word of the life ... that which we have heard and at present is ringing in our ears, we are reporting also to you, in order that as for you also, you may be participating jointly in common with us [in our firsthand knowledge of the life of our Lord]. And the fellowship indeed, which is ours, is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And these things as for us we are writing in order that our joy, having been filled completely full in times past may persist in that state of fullness through present time.”
Like the bells, Apostle John calls out to his audience bringing cheer and reminding everyone about Christ and who He is. John solidifies the deity of Christ by expressing his firsthand knowledge of God is light, God is love and God is life through Jesus Christ.
John appeals to all ages, those who are weak, and those who are strong and to all who hear his bell a ringing ...
John expresses his tangible experience and encounter with Jesus as a present ringing in his ears. This true experience was so real to John that when he wrote this letter, during the 70 AD period, he could still hear, touch and feel the “ringing of the bells.”
November, the month of Thanksgiving is the “bell” that rings in December, the month designated to celebrate the birth of the Savior to the world.
So as I “ring my bell” of remembrance, would you be faithful to hear this bell pound as I raise the sound?
A) Acknowledge this time of year as Christ’s birth, giving thanks to almighty God for the best Gift ever — His Son.
B) Focus on the reason for the season: throwing your cares of problems, concerns, stresses, complaining, bickering, negative thoughts and vocalizing them ... and instead, exchange them for the great cheer of this season: The birth of Christ that brings salvation to a lost and dying world to all who will receive Him.
C) Join in a joyous unison singing out loud praises to Him by a radiant life devoted to Him as Lord and Savior.
About the author:
Simone Lake is a full-time minister and serves in the areas of international Bible teacher, speaker, missionary, mentor and author. She holds a master’s degree in theology and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake. Read more about her current Bible studies, speaking engagements and upcoming events at: www.simonelake.com and www.simonelake.blogspot.com.