Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Bells


Three or four years ago, Amabel found a tattered string of bells wound around the branches of a cedar tree next to the front porch of our old house in town.  Proud of her discovery, she put the string of tarnished bells on our Christmas tree, where it joined our collection of ornaments.

I've seen them every December since then, but the bells took on more significance for me this year.  When Amabel pulled them out of the box this weekend, I looked at them more carefully than I had before.  After deciding that they needed a new ribbon, I snipped each one off the tattered string and placed them in a line.  Whereupon I noticed, for the first time, how beautiful the little bells are, and how each one is unique in appearance and sound.  

Last night I read a passage that reminded me of the hidden beauty of the Christmas bells.  This is part of a letter from Friar Giovanni Giocondo, an architect, engineer, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar, written on Christmas Eve in 1513:

I salute you!  There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.  Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.  Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach is joy.  Take Joy.
There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see; and to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
The Christmas bells are symbolic to me because of their newly recognized beauty - beauty which had been there all along. And they are also emblematic of this blog: a place where I take time to notice and reflect upon the joy in our every-day life. My hope for our children is that they will find peace and joy this Christmas season and beyond - that we may help them to find these gifts within themselves.

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