Let Them RING!

The Basilica at Montserrat

The Basilica at Montserrat

This is a repeat of a post from 2011.  Some things bear repeating…

In 2006 my wife and I traveled to Spain for the Christmas holiday.  The day after Christmas we went to Montserrat, a monastery up in the mountains just 40 kilometers west of Barcelona.  Many people from around Europe and the world make their annual pilgrimage to Montserrat for the Christmas celebration.  We found the lack of typical holiday trappings remarkable as we traveled through the countryside and finally up the mountain to the beautiful mountaintop basilica.

We stood in the open courtyard outside the entrance to the sanctuary, overwhelmed by the blue sky and the crisp mountain air.  At that moment, the bells began to ring inviting parishioners to join the Christmas Mass.  As they rang, we began to hear the chapel bells further down the mountain begin to ring.  Then, farther away, at the bottom of the mountain, the village cathedral bells began to chime.  The sound resonated throughout our bodies.  We could feel the thunder of the bells beating in our hearts.

One of my least favorite Christmas songs has always been “Carol of the Bells”.  I always found it repetitive and a bit annoying.  As we stood in that courtyard and listened to the cacophony of bells, a familiar pattern began to emerge… a lilt… a melody…  It sang to my soul!  “Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away.  Christmas is here, bringing good cheer, to young and old, meek and the bold.  Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o’er hill and dale, telling their tale.  Gaily they ring, while people sing, Jesus is born, on Christmas morn!”

The pulse of the bells filled every corner of the world… they pounded and rang joyfully, unceasingly, sending the message of Christmas far and wide… but even more significantly, deep into me!  In that moment, I didn’t want them to stop… I wanted the ringing to continue forever.  Thankfully it does.  The truth of Christ’s birth and redeeming work continually rings and pounds and resonates in my soul.  Needless to say… “Carol of the Bells” has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Let them ring!!

Are they ringing in your heart and soul?

About John M. Stewart

I am a university administrator, part-time professor, writer, photographer, and a musician. I love live theater, music, hikes in the woods, and walks on the beach. I am a spiritual sojourner. My blog is about this life journey and how my faith impacts and intersects with my life journey. View all posts by John M. Stewart

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