Bells for hundreds of years have served many purposes. Bells call people to worship and prayer. They sound warnings and alarms. They beckon ships to safe harbors. They celebrate birth and new life, and they peal in announcement of death. They are rung during Christmas to announce the arrival of the season, to proclaim the birth of Christ.
I loved this description from the website, www.HolidayInsights.com
Ringing of bells can be traced back to pagan winter celebrations. During those times, noisemakers were used to scare away evil spirits in the night. Among those early noisemakers were bells. People had fun ringing the bells and making noise. It was too much fun to just use bells to scare demons away. So over time, bell ringing was incorporated into other events and activities. Bells are rung at churches to call people to gather, as warnings, and to bring people together to make announcements.
From these ancient roots, the ringing of bells began to be used in the Christian Christmas season. The soft, cheerful tones blended well and enhanced the sounds of the season. Today, they play an important, traditional role during the holiday.
Carolers soon began bringing bells to accompany their voices, both hand bells and jingle bells were used. It became such a tradition, a song was written about it. In this video, Nat King Cole sings a smooth-as-butter version of “Christmas Bells are Ringing”.
In the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, a ringing bell is associated with an angel earning his wings – sharing the idea that it is a celebration of personal growth. You might incorporate that idea by having a bell in your home that is rung whenever anyone in the family achieves personal growth.
Here in our midst, as well as around the world, there are many who struggle every day. The bells they hear at Christmas brings them hope, in Christ, and in some much needed help from those who can give. Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote a song “Bells Are Ringing” to help draw our attention to those in need. It is a beautiful song, and a touching video.
When you hear the bells of the Salvation Army, keep in mind that each of those people ringing the bells are giving of their time to be there, and that the money raised is as important NOW as it has ever been.
Let the sound of the bell ring in your heart as the sound of celebration, the sound of hope, … the sound of pure love.