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 Christmas Bells  

Long ago people believed that they could use bells to frighten away evil sprits.  Bells were a simple for of noisemaking. 

They could be easily obtained or made & everyone knew how to use them.  Many people thought that as winter began,

evil spirits would come to harm them.

So during the dark days after the harvest or the hunt, people would engage in ceremonies to keep bad things from happening

to them while they waited for spring & warmer days.

The tradition of using noisemakers like bells during times carried into the celebration of Christmas.  But instead of making noise to keep

away evil things, people made noise to celebrate something happy.

In many villages, there was a church & most churches had a bell.  When something important was happening - 

such as remembering the birth of Jesus Christ - they would ring the bell.

You might hear this saying at Christmas: "Every time a bell rings, and angel gets his wings".  Most people remember this saying from

the movie "It's a Wonderful Life".  But over a hundred years ago, this was a very common saying amongst kids.

Back in those days, kids believed that making noise was just a part of Christmas.  Bells were an easy way to make that noise.

Bells were inexpensive musical instruments that people could take with them caroling or wassailing & most every family had one or more.

Bells also provided a bright & cheery sound & were acceptable to parents as proper tools to celebrate & make noise at Christmas.

Bells play an important part in other areas of celebrating Christmas.  Some people probable picture Santa's reindeer with bells draped

over them for decoration.  Santa might also use bells to help find the reindeer in the dark or in the fog or snow.

Bells have always had a place in Christmas songs.  The famous Christmas hymn 'I heard the Bells on Christmas Day' began as

a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the 1860's.  The poem was actually about the tragedy one felt during the civil war.

Some of the verses go like this:

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men!”

Christmas bells are remembered in classic holiday songs such as "Jingle Bells", & "Christmas Bells are Ringing". 

Bells make a happy sound and are enjoyed  "ringing out the old & ringing in the new" each season as has been done in times past.

                                


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