By Bob Polk
While traveling recently, I was surprised to hear the radio announcer say, “This is your station for continuous Christmas music!” My first reaction was to ask why were they playing Christmas music two weeks before Thanksgiving. The next words I heard were, “Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city …” I stopped asking questions and began to think about the wonderful world of bells. It is interesting how bells can send a message without saying a word.
I remember visiting in Philadelphia and looking at the Liberty Bell. It didn’t say anything but I got the message. It reminded me of living in America where I am free. On my grandmother’s farm there was a dinner bell. It was mounted on a poll with a rope to ring, and when she rang it the men came in from the fields. The cow bell told the farm family where the cows were. The school bell rang and it was time for classes. The door bell rings and announces that someone is at the door.
In many ways bells have given way to buzzers and the pretty sounds of electronic devices, but I still like the sound of the bell. Occasionally you may hear the sound of a church bell. I like to go back to a church which was located on the side of the mountain overlooking a beautiful valley. Inside the front door was the bell rope dangling from the ceiling. Promptly at 9:30 on Sunday morning, the caretaker rang the bell to remind the folks that it was time for Sunday school and worship. At 11 a.m. a teenage boy took pride in ringing the bell for worship. As the sound floated across the valley, everyone knew what it meant. At other times a sad message was sent, and the tolling of the bell reminded the community of a death.
During the Christmas season, there are other bells which send a message. One of my favorites is a hand bell choir. I am fascinated by the choir as they ring the bells. There are big bells and small ones, and they blend together into one beautiful sound. One can almost hear the familiar words of the Christmas carols as they are played.
In Old Testament days, Aaron had golden bells dangling from the hem of his priestly robe when he entered the holy place. (Exodus 28:33) Perhaps God liked the sound of bells, and He sent a message to Aaron when he was approaching the Most Holy place. We are approaching a holy time, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Most Holy One. I have decided the radio announcer was right. It is time to begin ringing the Christmas bells.