Ring the Bells
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"1
"On Sept. 14th, 2001—just after the tragic events of 9-11—President George W. Bush called for a national day of prayer and the ringing of bells in houses of worship across our land. Rector Daniel Paul Matthews contacted the churches in his Manhattan parish to let them know of President Bush's initiative. Matthews especially wanted to hear the bells ring out from St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway, the oldest public building in the city. St. Paul's is also an historic church. President George Washington prayed there during times of war. But the engineers at St. Paul's said it would be impossible to ring the Chapel's bells. They were too near the chaos of Ground Zero, and the Chapel had been shut off from normal activity.
"But one of the engineers, Mike Borrero, wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He climbed up into the Chapel's bell tower and banged on the bell with an iron bar. Twelve times the bell pealed out through the streets of Manhattan. On the ground below, fire fighters and police officers paused in their work to take off their hats and bow their heads in reverence. One brave engineer determined that St. Paul's Chapel would not remain silent in the midst of adversity."2
May we, who call ourselves Christ followers, never have to wait 'till Christmas to hear the bells of peace ring out—or allow the purveyors of political correctness to silence the bells of peace—as expressed in an old favorite Christmas carol:
I heard the bells on Christmas day / Their old familiar carols play / And mild and sweet the words repeat, / Of peace on earth, good will to men. / I thought how as the day had come, / The belfries of all Christendom Had roll'd along th' unbroken song / Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bow'd my head: / "There is no peace on earth," I said, / "For hate is strong, and mocks the song / Of peace on earth, good will 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, good will to men."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in this world where so few wrongs are put right and where there is not yet lasting peace, grant that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will hasten the day of His return to end forever all wars, evil, sadness, sickness, and suffering, and that there truly will be 'peace on earth, good will to men.' Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
NOTE: If you have never accepted God's remarkable Christmas gift of forgiveness and eternal life, for help go to www.actsweb.org/christian for the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious."
1. Luke 2:13-14 (NIV).
2. "God Reigns" by Daniel Paul Matthews, from a sermon preached on Sept. 23, 2001, quoted by Associated Church Press wire news.