Tuesday 17 July 2018

The bell rings out cheerfully with a message of encouragement

Rev. Eric Duncan (retired) On behalf of the Methodist Community of County Wexford A FEATURE of public life which is still used today for celebrations is the ringing of bells. Many of our Christmas carols have that as part of their message. A bell is used also to warn of danger and to measure the passing of time. As we face into Christmas this year we are looking for something to cheer us. The news from the financial and political world is grim and the cry is 'Lift our spirits, warm our hearts'. Perhaps the ringing of the Christmas bells might just do that.

A Bell has to have a clear tone.

When it is cast the bell maker tests its ring for purity and sweet tone. It is rejected if it fails the test. When God sent out the message to the shepherds on the hillside in Bethlehem it was of great joy to all men. The years have proved that the message was pure and true. Jesus Christ is the saviour of the world. He offers his love and forgiveness to all who will receive him. God rings out his Good news to us today in the middle of doom and gloom. He says, 'I still love you and want to welcome you into my family. Turn to me and I will save and protect you.' A Bell must be well rung. Nothing is worse than a half hearted peal of bells. It is a bit like the dead bell which is sometimes rung at funerals. It is both depressing and makes one despondent at the sadness of the occasion. Those single notes, one after and another echo our feelings of why we are there. The Christmas bell on the other hand rings out cheerfully and loudly with a message of encouragement. Jesus Christ has come into the world.

He has come to bring good news and hope. It lifts our spirits and mood. I can face the future, I can hope for better times. Though things are dark now the sun will come out again.

As you hear the Christmas Bells ring out this Christmas remind yourself of God's Good News.

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