Near the end of the movie, â€œItâ€™s a Wonderful Lifeâ€, we hear the jingling of a small silver bell? Jimmy Stewartâ€™s small daughter says â€œLook, Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.â€ This is just a myth, but the ringing of bells has been significant for several reasons since ancient times. Orthodox churches always had bells to call the faithful to public worship. Town criers would walk about ringing bells in order to communicate the news to the town. Single bells (usually of gold or silver) called “crotals” were mounted on Knight’s warhorses in Medieval times for show and as a symbol of wealth. Horse bells came to be viewed as a source of good luck and as protection from evil and disease. Many people believed that such bells would attract wealth or other good fortune. Their practical use was as a warning to pedestrians and other drivers on narrow roadways.
The merry tune of “Jingle Bells” is perhaps the most recognizable of all Christmas music. Often it is the first holiday song learned by children. Though by strict definition not a Christmas carol, it is one of the top twenty-five songs in the history of recorded music. Written by James Pierpoint sometime during the late 1840s or early 1850s, “Jingle Bells” was publicly performed for a Thanksgiving program at the Savannah, Georgia Unitarian Universalist Church in 1857 where Pierpoint was the organist. His merry little tune proved so popular that it was requested for the Christmas program at the church a month later. From there, its fame grew.
When the bells are rung, a message is sent out for all to hear…either a good message or a message of warning. The message can be of a town meeting or of a church service beginning. The message can be the bell of a ship that is in distress.
So how do we transform this to make it a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ?
When you sing “Jingle Bells”, remember that you are that bell that broadcasts a message. It is a message of hope and good tidings. But it is a warning of disaster if the message of Jesus is rejected. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.