Parsonage Parables

Signs of the Season – Bells

It seems that bells aren’t used as much anymore. I remember the long rope to the bell tower and the deep “tong” would toll, announcing the church service was beginning. Not sure if its real purpose was a shaming technique – hey sleepy heads, you missed church again.

Town squares used to have chimes that rang on the hour. Guessing there were too many noise complaints. Quiet your dogs and those hourly bells.

There are Christmas songs that use bells. A wooden handle with lots of tinkling and jingling. They add something special to songs or maybe it’s for that kid that can’t play another instrument or the singer tired of banging a tambourine.

There are bells used during mass or worship. There is a train of thought that there’s something holy in the ringing of a bell.

Cows and goats used to wear bells so they can be more easily located. Now we have barns and fences. The main use of cowbells now is noise at concerts or athletic events. “More cowbell!”

Bells are one of the signs of the Advent Season. They seem to make a reappearance this time of year. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Jingle bells. The lost bell in the Polar Express. I heard the bells on Christmas day. Silver bells.

Recently, we were driving home from an event and went under an overpass that was full of emergency vehicles. Lots of flashing lights. I read later that first responders were talking someone out of jumping off the bridge.

It’s this time of year that we need bells. A deep “tong” if you are lonely. A chime to alert us to someone that is depressed. A tinkling bell if you’re reminded of a loss. Holy rings that remind us of a deeper meaning for Christmas. A cowbell to wake us up to the needs of others.

Bring back the bells.

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