When my husband was a young lad, he was responsible for ringing the church bells for Sunday service along with other special events as weddings and funerals. His small frame grew big muscles as he tugged on the rope designed to set the bells to singing their beautiful sounds throughout the neighborhood. It wasn’t an easy task for someone his age, but he did it willingly, even though he often found himself flyng up in the air to do so. The sound of church bells isn’t heard much these days. It’s one of those old traditions that seems to have died off.
Tradition is very much a part of Christmas, even today. Many young families have started their own traditios which suit their lifestyle. Some of them carry on with old family get togethers to make Christmas cookies or go Christmas caroling to shut ins. Some like traditional Christmas beverages like egg nog or Tom & Jerrys. Some are into secret Santas and exceptional gift giving – beautiful gift packaging – special food and gatherings. Traditions sometimes fade away with the way the world is going at the time. In the past two years we’ve seen lots of changes in traditional Christmases.
I really do miss the church bells though. I remember the glorious sounds of the bells after a wedding – the somber tolling of those same bells during a funeral. You could almost tell what was happening inside the sanctuary by listening to the bells. The Lord’s prayer would always be punctuated with the sound of a bell for each petition. Some bells were controlled electroncally and would play beautiful hymns from time to time. I wonder what happened to them. The bells were an example of some of the most heavenly sounds that must have been heard on that first Christmas Eve. Imagine the silence of the night being interrupted by the sounds of all kinds of instruments along with angelic voices. It must’ve have been frightening for those shepherds as they sat tending their sheep, when out of nowhere the hosts of angels appeared ‘en masse with voices straight from heaven.
As with all traditions, time changes things. The way we live changes things what we have grown used to. The message of Chrismas will remain the same until Christ returns to earth again in glory. God never changes, even though our man made traditions do. I’m quite sure the sounds from heaven on that final day will be like nothing we’ve ever heard before. Until then, we will sing His praises, magnify His holy name and even if we do it on the inside – we’ll ring those Christmas bells.