Bells in My Ears


“It’s always a special minute when it comes. Every year. Christmas, I mean. 

Sometimes it’s when the tree is up and trimmed and you step back from it and see it sparkle for the first time and hear it tinkling a little. And you smell that smell – of the woods brought indoors. 

Sometimes it’s a time when you find just the right present for someone you’re very fond of and you bring it home and work over the wrapping. Or you get some special thing you never dreamed you would. Like that time I was emptying my stocking, and I saw a box underneath it move and the cover push up and two green eyes looked out and it was Magnolia, the black kitten. That was the minute that year. Often it’s a song – on the radio or in church or once even the garbage man singing Joy To The World while he banged frozen-in grapefruit peels out of our can.

But it’s always a minute that’s special, and then Christmas is there. It’s come for you. It hits you and leaves bells ringing in your ears.” -Author Unknown, “The Pink Angel”

It seems like, when I was a child, those special minutes came so easily, often at the very start of the Advent season. Favorite Christmas albums playing as we decorated the house and I was there. Adulthood has brought a new challenge. I no longer have a whole month dedicated to everything Christmas, instead I have a work and school schedule that doesn’t diminish at all with additions of family gatherings and Christmas parties to attend.

For the first time in my life, I’m taking responsibility for putting myself in the Christmas spirit. It doesn’t just happen. I have to be intentional about it. Last year, I didn’t take the time and almost missed that moment entirely, until I was blessed with an email notification on Christmas Eve that Charles Martin had written a new blog post. Thank God for Charles Martin! His post put my heart back where it belonged.

This year, the moment happened on a car ride home from an early family Christmas. I had been reading a Christmas In My Heart book, but I stopped to gaze at the landscape rolling by. It was a cloudy afternoon with no snow on the ground but I found myself singing “Oh Holy Night” softly and there it was. Christmas.

What a joy that my heart gets to celebrate it for eleven days rather than just one!



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