Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ringing bells

holy experience

She sings.

In the cold, with crowds passing, most ignoring, she keeps singing.

Singing of a manger, of a star, of a promise, of prophecy fulfilled, of love divine, of holiness.

You see them everywhere during the Christmas season. Salvation Army bell ringers, who stand in the cold, ringing to draw attention to their big red kettles, the kettles that holds dreams of gifts, food, and shelter for some. Bell ringers are paid minimum wage for standing several hours per shift, ringing their bells. Among them are the retired, the unemployed, those who are able to prepare Christmas dinner with their wages.

Some stand silently, eyes glazed to the turmoil around them. Some, obviously bored, yawn and pace back and forth. Some greet shoppers as they pass.
But this one sings.

Standing in front of a huge warehouse store, red apron atop the layers of bulky clothing, she sweetly sings to all who pass.
She may never sing in a choir or catch the ears of a music producer, but she's okay with that. She sings about the great I AM, the wonderful counselor, the Prince of Peace.

The littered, busy concrete entrance where she stands is holy ground.
And I, the one determined not to get caught up in the rush, not to become a victim of the commercialization of the season, stand on it with liquid joy and remember.

I don't know her name, but surely we are sisters, family, so different and so alike, rejoicing in the waiting.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy... Isaiah 9: 2-3a