The Bell Ringer

"Ring-a-ding-ding. Ringity-dingity-ding." The sound floated towards me as I walked across a parking lot the other day. I had enjoyed a rare lunch out with my daughter and decided to do a little Christmas shopping before heading home. The department store looked warm on that chilly, wintry day and the ringing bell beckoned me with its sweet music.

As I got to the store entrance I saw the music maker. He was an old bell ringer working tirelessly beside the Salvation Army bucket at the front of the store. His lean frame and scruffy white beard made him look like an underfed Santa Claus in blue jeans. His eyes sparkled and his face shined with a youthful energy as he rang out a joyful rhythm with his little bell. I fished a bill out of my wallet and dropped it in the bucket. The bell ringer smiled and said, "God bless you. Have a Merry Christmas!" With a warm, raspy voice.

I went into the store and tried to look around at all the items for sale but my eyes kept drifting back to that wonderful music maker out front. His aged arm never stopped ringing. His merry bell never stopped singing. His body may have been old but his spirit was younger than mine.

His warm soul seemed immune to the cold, blustery winds. His vitality seemed to come from Heaven itself. His efforts may not have helped to feed every hungry child or help every homeless family. Yet, he was working with all of his heart to help those he could. With a loving spirit and swinging arm he was making this world a better place. I stood there wondering what this planet of ours would be like if only all of us did the same.

May we all follow the shining example of this skinny Santa in blue jeans. May our hearts ring out with Godís love. May our strong arms never tire of helping others in need. And may we all do everything we can to make this world a more Heavenly place at Christmastime and always.

Joseph J. Mazzella [email protected]

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