Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
~ Christmas Poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
There’s something about the ringing of bells that brings me joy. Always. Always. And somehow it’s a shared appreciation, because our Advent into Christmas season seems to resound with bells ringing. You can hear them at church (thank you, you sweet souls who practice and practice to bring that music alive in the most unique and beautiful ways) and you can hear them on street corners. All ‘round us these bells are ringing out with joy.
Lord Tennyson’s words from the 19th century were familiar to me, but I’d never read the whole Christmas poem until recently. In his verses he speaks today’s truths and longings of today’s hearts. For this Poet Laureate one way to bring all the needed change was to ring out the bells.
Perhaps there’s a lesson for us in this. What can bring needed change brings joy at the same time. What’s stopping us, you and me from trying it out? With joy in our hearts and a resounding gong or a tinkling, a twinkling of what’s possible and next!
Breath prayer: “ringing in” “ringing out”
Prayers: Almighty and everlasting God, teach us this day to join what brings joy with what will bring life-giving change. Teach us delight as you have been delighting in us all our lives. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.