Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Bells Ring In The New Year

As I walked into the store this morning

my thoughts were focused on New Year’s Eve

and things I needed to do in preparation for 2014.

Time seems to fly much quicker than my inner spirit

so once more I was listening for those faint Christmas bells

while picking up my sparkling apple cider and oysters.

Deep within I long to make each moment count

to squeeze the joy out of every situation

and to see His Hand

and hear His gentle Whispers.

Sometimes the rush and busyness all around and within are difficult to ignore

but this morning it all came together

creating a marvelous shining moment of grace and peace.

I had just placed the saltine box beside the jar of oysters

when all of a sudden I met her eyes.

A dear sweet friend who is the sister of a fellow first grade teacher

who had taught with me for years and years.

Our eyes locked for just a second and I stepped to her side.

Faintly ringing Christmas bells

hearts beating with joy and gladness

souls warmed by the mutual care and compassion.

I asked about my old friend from teaching days

and she updated me with the sad news of her growing limitations due to aging.

For a moment while she talked

I was pulled back to those years that she and I

sat on the old merry go round outside

watching out first graders play and taking a short rest.

I loved her gentle manners. Conversation with her was easy.

Warm breezes blew through our hair as we grabbed a quick pick me up

that strengthened us for the rest of the day.

But then she retired and I lost track of her.

I continued teaching and only heard of her from time to time.

Sigh.

Life can all too easily move us away from those

who add much color and joy to our lives

but the heart never forgets. No, it never forgets.

“Tell her that I said hi,” I said as I parted from her sister this morning.

The Christmas bells of peace on earth – goodwill toward men

rang softly as I completed my shopping.

A brand new year filled with blank sheets of white paper

a39224_13957sunrisewaiting for us to write on them.

I knew just what I would write on one of those pages –

a visit to this fellow teacher/friend

and then within seconds the names and faces of others came to mind.

My heart skipped with joy – it still does as I write this blog –

There are so many people to touch and encourage.

So many lives who need just our time and care.

Listen for those Christmas bells that are still ringing

Calling us to keep spreading His Love throughout all the year.

And may this New Year for you be filled with purpose, peace and passion

that is greater than you can possibly imagine as you give yourself totally to Him.

 

Christmas Bells Still Ring part 2

702913_4435722490071_2015989474_nChristmas is more than just one day

it’s a spirit of hope that shines brightly giving life to all.

Yes, for awhile the world seems a little brighter and the laughter of children fills the air.

I felt it. Did you?

I heard those faintly ringing Christmas bells. Did you?

And there was a moment when they seemed to ring even louder…

Let me tell you about it.

On Christmas Eve when all the preparations were finally made

and after our family gathering

my girls and I got into the car and drove the dark streets.

It was bitter cold that night but no one seemed to mind

and as the car slowly moved along we admired the twinkling lights here and there.

I wondered about the people who lived inside.

Were they filled with happiness this Christmas or was their story one of pain and loss?

I whispered a prayer for peace and that the real meaning of Christmas joy would break through

into these homes.

Silently we drove along the empty streets that night

and our hearts were one with those whose homes we passed.

Many we do not know personally

but at this time of waiting and preparation on Christmas Eve

our journeys joined  and the light of understanding and love shone.

God became man and dwelt among us at Christmas.

In the darkness of that moment

the light of His Love shone brightly.

And then before we turned to come home we stopped the car

lowered the car windows

and gazed up into the black, velvet sky overhead.

Tiny stars twinkled and shone their song of Christmas joy.

Diamonds above that usually are ignored

but on this evening and on Christmas Day night we gazed upon with delight.

Bells were ringing it seemed to me

as I looked above and thought of that day so long ago when Jesus was born.

Stars shining today were most likely shining on that glorious night so long ago

that night that changed history.

I could have stayed outside much longer simply drinking in the grandeur.

The cold did not even seem to bother me.

But the time came when we drove home, parked the car and walked up the sidewalk to our home.

Before entering our home though

I turned and looked up one last time.

It was more than magical that night and I treasure the memory deep within my heart.

Seems strange that we rarely go out like this

but I’m going to change that.

Yes, from time to time I’m going to walk outside and gaze upward into the darkness again

and admire those twinkling stars

that continue to sing Christmas joy and peace.

How about you?

Maybe tonight will be just the night that you, too, will see what I have seen

And you, too, will hear the sound of those Christmas bells still ringing.

Tomorrow I will share another extraordinary moment when I heard them.

Yes, I heard those Christmas bells

and I hear them still.

Join me, won’t you?

Christmas Bells Still Ring

old photoChristmas is bigger than a day on the calendar.

Yes, Christmas is larger than a 24 hour period of celebrating with family and friends.

It’s much deeper than most of us can truly comprehend

but I’m trying. Yes, I keep trying to grasp the Holy mystery.

My eyes have been searching for glimpses of Christmas wherever I have gone

and my heart has been listening  for that marvelous  sense of His Presence.

Over the next few days I will share with you three times when I heard the ringing of bells

you might say.

For some it might seem like nothing. Nothing at all.

But, for a few you just might grasp that unmistakable touch of the Holy too

and be encouraged and uplifted.

Early this morning I awoke to the sound of rain pelting hard on our roof.

The contrast of the beautifully lit Christmas tree and the rainy day outside was vivid

and I was glad that there was nothing that called me to venture out into the dreariness.

As I pottered around the house straightening this and picking up that

all of a sudden I remembered an old song.

The words came slowly at first ….tenderly He watches over you…

and all of a sudden I was a young girl of five standing in the kitchen of our home in Levittown, Pa.

The 45 lpm record was playing as I helped my mommy fold the laundry.

She, recovering  from the effects of polio, sat in the chair close by me

directing me as to just how to do the job.

I can still hear her singing along with George Beverly Shea and oh my heart was so happy.

Nothing, absolutely nothing was better than spending time with my dear Mommy

and hearing her sing.

‘like a mother watches over her baby,

He is near you every hour of the day.’

Like a special Christmas blessing from on high I found myself singing that old song

that held so many memories

and the joys of the past flooded the present with shining moments.

He does tenderly watch over us wherever we are

whatever we are doing.

Could it be that He gifted me by reminding me of that precious song and that sweet time?

Yes, I opened it like a child at Christmas and for the rest of the day have been playing it.

Waves of encouragement wrapped their arms around me as I drank in the gift.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aj2OUE4sPU

Christmas blessings continue to shine as I look for them around me

and while many was busy taking down their tree and putting away the decorations I will savor

Christmas for a few more days.

Join me on my next blog as I share another Christmas moment

that touched my heart and warmed my soul.

Christmas is more than just a day. It’s an experience of the heart

and the Author is always the One Who tenderly watches over all of us.