Coming home today I heard the tinkling sound of the bell ringer in front of my local grocery store. I can't help but wonder how they persevere in such frigid weather, as we have been experiencing recently. The sounds of ringing bells are synonymous with the holidays, so I am glad the stores and corners have resident bell ringers taking up pavement at this time of year. While I would like to, I am unable to drop money into every bucket I see. There is such a need in our country and the world for the services our loose change support. These hearty, bell-ringing souls create an auditory reminder to love one another, and to help our neighbors at this time of year.
As children, my kids were involved in the bell choir at our church. They played periodically throughout the year, but always seemed to practice especially hard for the Christmas service, chiming together to announce Jesus's birth. Their pieces resonnated through the sanctuary, the miracle of the virgin birth echoing in our hearts even as the last note ended.
Growing up I had the pleasure of experiencing vintage Christmases thanks to my mother's love of antiques. Once part of an antique group called Questers, Mom would occasionally bring home some much loved finds. I now have a piece of an old leather and brass set of sleigh bells that I can still picture my mom ringing both at Christmas time, and to ring in the New Year. I have never had any bells with the same quality of sound as the brass sleigh bells. They out-ring any of the modern jingle bells available today.
A new family tradition has grown out of the story of that amazing polar-bound train, which became popular when my children were small. I have always admitted to believing in Santa Claus, and hearing the bells, as the story goes. Each year my children would find a bell from Santa's sleigh, either wrapped in a beautiful box, or tucked deep into their over flowing stockings. As they heard rumors and became unsure of the existence of the man in red, the bells were a reminder that they believed. If not in the man himself, they will always believe in the spirit that he encompasses. It warms my heart every time I hear a Christmas bell ring.
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
A warm country hug to all,