As you approached the Church this evening you heard the bells ringing, playing Christmas carols and calling you to worship.
In fact, Bells have long been associated with Christianity. They call the faithful to prayer – not only to Church, but through the thrice-daily angelus prayer they call the faithful to prayer in the fields in the shops in their homes. And the bell not only provides a practical function, but it gives a beautiful sound. Just as the candle not only lights the Church but also beautifies it, so the bell not only calls to prayer but does so with charm and beauty.
Yet, in our very fast and practical world, we may say there is no longer any need for the bell or the candle. We have clocks, and timetables, mobile phones and halogen lighting.
But the bell speaks to us not only of another time, it also reminds us that there is harmnony in the practical ordinary things of life. The daily routine is marked by its music.
When we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child we celebrate something mundane, unremarkable and common-place. The birth of a child. The life of a family. The love and concern of his parents. A place of work and not a clean or decorated palace. In this birth God himself enters into the trivial struggles of life. He dwells in the simple and the everyday. Hardly noticed at the time, save for a few curious pilgrims.
And our bells make the mundane melodious. The Word is made flesh. And all creation is filled with the glory of God.