Christmas is coming! What are some of the things that
mark the Christmas season? Decorations, lights, gifts,
music. And bells. Tower bells, sleigh bells, handbells,
"silver bells," Salvation Army kettle bells,
tiny tinkling tree bells.
my four years in college, I spent a lot of time on campus
making music - piano, organ and vocal recitals, band,
glee club, a cappella choir, fraternity song fests,
writing and conducting music for student productions,
and so on. But perhaps the most exciting musical experience
came when I was appointed chief carillonneur during
my senior year.
carillon was located in the chapel tower. It was the
'50s, still the pre-electronic era which meant that
each bell was physically attached to a long wooden handle
or key. The key had to be grasped and vigorously depressed
at least a foot and a half to make the bell sound. The
lower bells also had a foot pedal attached to their
respective key which meant that you could play three
bells at once, one with each hand and a third with your
left foot. Playing a half hour concert on this antique
key frame was a serious athletic workout, and there
were half a dozen scheduled concerts each week.
of the drawbacks to playing a carillon back then was
that it was impossible to practice in private. While
you rehearsed, the entire town was listening. Every
mistake was made in thousand-decibel tones, every flub
immediately assaulted the ears of thousands of music
critics. There was no way to cover up your errors. You
did your best, and let people think what they might.
It takes some degree of courage [some might even say
foolhardiness] to put your ego on the line like that.
are over a hundred stories on our site, amazing accounts
of personal spiritual experiences submitted by our visitors.
Many contributors confess that they have never told
these stories to anyone before. They have been afraid
that they would be rebuffed, or accused of lying or
being crazy. It takes courage for them to put their
egos on the line like this. But they are the prophets
of a new age.
has a story of some sort. Those who claim they don't
simply haven't been paying attention. The new age will
come to fulfillment when the scales tip from disbelief
to general acceptance. That will happen only when a
majority of the people own their own spiritual experiences,
and recognize that the truth about God is far beyond
religion - that the spiritual world is an intimate part
of our daily life.
this Christmas season, we can all become bell ringers,
heralds of a new age, spiritual gift givers. Our personal
experiences can be tiny Christmas packages, wrapped
in love and divine insight. We have gifts of truth to
share with a world desperate for a new kind of music.
overcome your self-consciousness about practicing in
public. Ring your bell! Tell your story! Don't worry
what people think. They will be secretly in awe of you,
and will begin to look at their own lives from a different
John W. Sloat 2004