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Perspective: Carol of the bells

Shaouraav Shreshtha

The town was silent, the bells were not.

Although it seems ages ago, like a thick fog in a scene from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Christmas Eve 2020 is one we will not long to forget. The Pandemic had shuttered most of the churches, the beauty of their stained-glass windows eerily dark. Unlike the gaiety of Christmases past, many of us were home alone trying to shelter against the virus that was raging the world, still is.

And yet, out of that darkness came the sound of bells. In a symbol of hope and faith, the churches in our community decided to ring their bells together at a designated time on Christmas Eve.

With no beloved family gatherings, my husband and I decided to leave the warmth of our fire and headed out into the cold night to hear the bells.

Deserted roads greeted us as people remained sequestered in their homes. Even so, it seemed as if the neighborhoods glowed with more colorful holiday lights than usual in a show of communal perseverance.

A flurry of white snowflakes blew gently against the dark lending a bit of snow globe magic to an already surreal setting. Parking our car in an empty lot across from our church, we stepped out into a frosty wind just as our old, historic church bell began to ring. Other church bells across the city joined in, echoing each other with their deep resounding reminders of enduring love and joy.

For despite the pandemic’s power, serenity and peace filled this holy night.

Lo, these two years later, I am so grateful to the bell ringers of the world, both literal and figural, for continually ringing us through the darkness and into the light.

Marnie O. Mamminga has been a professional essayist and features writer for more than 20 years.