Thursday, December 7: Silver Bells
Isn’t it interesting how the ordinary can take on a different form during the Christmas holiday season? “Silver Bells” mentions the Christmassy red and green of the traffic lights and the laughter of children, yet those are around three hundred sixty-five days a year. We see things differently during the holidays. Colorful lights and busy sidewalks with smiling, (hopefully), people are certainly part of the Christmas season. It’s fun to get out in the crowd and see the lights and decorations and wish people a heartfelt “Merry Christmas.”
Bells, ringing bells, have been used to mark joyous celebrations as well as sad occasions. They’ve been used to alert or warn people for hundreds of years. Stores sometimes have bells on their entry doors to alert them to a customer’s arrival. When I think of ringing bells I think of the Salvation Army bell ringers. They’re only out during the Christmas season. Several years ago I vowed to never pass a bell ringer without putting something into their bucket.
We think of “Silver Bells” as a secular Christmas song but I wonder. Bells have been used for years to call attention to something; alerting people to an event or happening that might otherwise be missed. The sound of ringing bells can travel quite a distance, I imagine.
Bells have been around since 1000 BC and are mentioned in the Bible more than 150 times. There’s no mention of the Angels ringing bells when they announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, but isn’t it possible? What if, during this Christmas season, this advent; when we hear the ring-a-ling of bells, even silver bells, we consider the sound as an alert for us. to take notice, to be vigilant, or we might miss an important event, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell. But as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah, (the speaker’s sister), found, one Christmas, that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I have grown old, the bell still rings for me. As it does for all who truly believe.
–From The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg