A little confession to make. When this song popped up on my random list generator, I did not know any of the lyrics. I knew ding, dong, and merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. I could probably hum the entire song, and I would tell you that I absolutely love it, but that is because of the sound of the song, not really the lyrics. Be honest. How many of you would have to admit that the same is true with you to one degree or another?
There is a sound to Christmas and this is it. I almost feel a bit sacrilegious not using the Pentatonix version of the song since it seems to have risen right to the top of everyone’s Christmas music canon, but since it does have one hundred billion youtube views I figure you have all seen it a few dozen times this season already and I would rather introduce you to a new version instead. How popular is Carol of the Bells? This version is barely a couple days old and already it is well on its way towards a million of its own. People love this song. No matter how they might feel about Rudolph (childish), Frosty (cold = evil), Santa (commercialism), Yule-tide (Babylonian paganism), or even baby Jesus (keep that religious stuff away), one common ground we can all find this holiday season (MERRY CHRISTMAS!) is that Carol of the Bells is a song worth hearing.
Now that I have corrected my lack and looked up the lyrics for this song I have to say I like it even more. They remind me of both a Jewish exhortation and a promise made by Jesus. That exhortation can be found in Psalm 150. Praise God with the horn. Praise Him with the guitar and the harp. Praise with the tambourine and dancing. Praise Him on the piano and the flute. Praise Him with the bells and percussion. Let everything that can breath, sing out praise to God. (BJV) That promise to Jesus goes right along with this. When the religious leaders told him the crowd was too noisy and He should have them shut up, Jesus responded, “If these voices don’t praise me then even the rocks will start singing out instead. (BJV)
The Carol of the Bells is a song that tells us to listen. The bells everywhere throughout the land are reminding us that the season to celebrate the coming of Christ has arrived. Along with the bells, voices throughout the land are also being raised up. Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o’er hill and dale, telling their tale, gaily they ring, while people sing, songs of good cheer, Christmas is here!
So let us join in that song. Who cares if it is cold and sounds childish? Sing out with your frosty red nose. Who cares if people all seem to be out to make a buck? Tell them about jolly old Saint Nikolaus. So what if they accuse of engaging in pagan revelry? Roast them chestnuts. If they prefer to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, or the winter solstice, so what? More power to them. The only thing that makes this time of year the greatest and the best is the Mass, the sacrament, recognizing the coming of the Christ. So my voice will carol out right along with those bells the only song worth singing. Will you raise yours as well?
(OK. I give in. Here you go…)