Dec 27, 2020
This too is a Christmas story. For John God’s dwelling with us did not start in Bethlehem among shepherds and magi but began before the dawn of creation. The Word of God, to be incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, has been with us from the very beginning. There was not, is not, and will not be a time when the Word of God is not with us. God is with us in “the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night” for this is, as Louis Armstrong reminds us, a wonderful world.
Because we know and believe and live with the grace and truth that God is with us, then my hope is that we will too will ring the bells and remind one another of God’s presence, ring the bells to prepare ourselves and invite others into worship, ring the bells to proclaim the Gospel, ring the bells for we are those who dream and those who dream change everything.
I am mindful this day of a poem that invites us to dream. A poem I have known in my soul for many years and a poem that Bishop Doyle shared with his clergy this Christmas day. The poem is “Ring Out, Wild Bells”, from the work in Memoriam by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die...
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.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
My hope and prayer for each of us is that no matter the darkness or steep creaking stairs, no matter what, that we join in the sharing of the Christmas story and ring out, wild bells and as this year comes to a close and a new one dawns that we “Ring in the Christ that is to be.”