I Heard the Bells

I was driving home after a delicious Christmas dinner... mmm, Beef Wellington, pumpkin mushroom soup, brussel sprouts with lemon zest and pancetta, deep red wine, warm cinnamon cookies for dessert. It was all perfectly grown up and lovely... and yet... I was feeling a little lonely. It's easy to get distracted by past disappointments and unmet expectations...

Then a familiar church song came ringing through the radio, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" This was KFOG- a local rock station known more playing everything from Rolling Stones to Bruno Mars, from U2 to Arcade Fire-  playing a beautiful version of one of my favorite Christmas hymns.

On a lonely Christmas Day during the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem, Christmas Bells, which later became this song. And here, at the tail end of 2011, those same words rang loud and clear on a dark night in the cab of my car. It was a sweet reminder that no matter how heavy the past or precarious the present, there is always much to be grateful for and hopeful about for the future. There will always be cherished traditions set in place by past events. But there is always room too for new rituals based on present moments that will become past memories soon enough. So, make them good, decide to believe, find hope... In other words...

don't stop now.


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