The Bells of Christmas

In the Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life, when a bell on the Bailey’s Christmas tree rings, George Bailey’s young daughter Zuzu says,

Look, Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”

Bells seem to have an intricate history with Christmas.  The Salvation Army Bell Ringers stand in the elements ringing their bells for those less fortunate.  Their kettles are there for coins and bills of tender from shoppers.

Churches have bell choirs as well as bells in their steeples.  Bell towers are in many old towns and villages.

Bells are placed on sleighs as well as on Santa’s reindeer.  The delightful song Jingle Bells reminds us of dashing through the snow in an open sleigh with bells jingling all the way to our destinations.  Hopefully, some hot chocolate or wassail is waiting by a warm hearth for cold travellers when we arrive at our destination.

The Bells of Christmas written by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen reminds us

The bells, the bells, on a wintry night, with the friendly fire burning warm and bright,

“The bells, the bells, on the steeple above, telling us it’s the season of love.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Christmas Bells states

Till, ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!”

Peter J. Wilhousky’s Carol of the Bells reminds us

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,

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling.

One song about bells is from a delightful movie, THE LEMON DROP KID (1951).  The song Silver Bells was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell sang the song on a busy nighttime street with all the hustle and bustle of 1951’s New York City.  As they walked and sang, they carried the kettle for donations.

A year before, Bing Crosby and Carol Lewis had recorded the song.  The success of this recording led to a refilming of the section in the movie to more closely match the recording.

The song describes the busy sidewalks of a city.  Small towns and villages like the mountain hamlet of Temperance in my Christmas stories are much more relaxed and friendly since everyone in a small community knows each other.

As you shop this holiday season take time to smile and wish a holiday greeting to the clerks and others you may encounter.  As you rush home with your treasures, take a moment to donate a bit of your cash and, if possible, your time to help those in need.

Unfortunately, there are many in need today of a warm coat or a hot meal or a friendly greeting. Christmas time may be in the city according to the lyrics, but it should be in the heart.

When Christmas comes and those silver or golden or glass bells ring, may your blessings not be in the amount of fancy wrapped presents under the towering tree.  May they be reflected on the faces of those who you helped in some way this season.

Merry Christmas, and may all the rich blessings of this magical time of the year be yours because you were Santa for someone who needed the jolly old elf.

I will close with these words from Kenny Loggins’ The Bells of Christmas:

“The bells of Christmas
Will ring for us again
When we truly do believe
What Christmas really means
So light a candle
That every man may see
The world of hope and promise
Like the one we knew back when and
We’ll ring the bells of Christmas
Once again”

G. D. Williams © 2013

POST 522

Silver Bells

Christmas makes you feel emotional
It may bring parties or thoughts devotional
Whatever happens or what may be,
Here is what Christmas time means to me.

City sidewalks busy sidewalks .
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you’ll hear

Silver bells silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring a ling hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa’s big scene
And above all this bustle
You’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas day

Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell in “The Lemon Drop Kid” (1951)

Bing Crosby and Carol Lewis

The Bells of Christmas

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Casting Crowns:

POEM: Christmas Bells

Carol of the Bell

Pentatonix –


Kenny Loggins:  The Bells of Christmas