Give with a happy heart
By Jo McCormick
Perkins County resident
Merry Christmas...in July yet! Another GOCH choir concert brief. “When The Bells Rang” was presented in the GOCH chapel. Shirley Knudsen, choir director, had revamped the presentation from one she had used for a past church program. Sarah Regier, pianist, and Jo, activity director.
Full house again–spilling out into the north hallway. Ivan Regier, husband of our DON Ann, was the narrator who told the story in his big, deep, bold voice as the choir hummed in the background. Jim Pede, administrator at that time was present .
Children of the Grant Women Of Today were dressed as persons of varying occupations. Songs sung by the choir at intervals during the reading of the story by Ivan were, “The First Noel”, “O Holy Night”, “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”, “Silent Night”, and “Joy To The World”.
During the closing moments of the program there was a period of silence, then the choir singing with gusto–“Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Come All You Faithful” as a tape played joyously ringing church bells in the background.
The children were exhibiting real excitement. What made the bells ring? Do you know the story? You will ‘cause I’m going to tell you briefly. But first, following the concert refreshments were served in the dining room by the ever faithful devoted Golden Ours Guild.
‘When The Bells Rang’
A country church in a far away place. It was an old stone edifice with dark passageways and one big room–so large you could hardly see from one end to the other. A huge organ could be heard at a long distance when played for the Sabbath and other holy gatherings. On this special day you could hear the heavenly choir singing. The church had a bell tower so lofty that the bells could be heard for many a mile. Of late the bells had not chimed. It was a mystery, everyone wanted to hear those majestic bells. No one could figure out why they no longer chimed out in glory to God.
It had been a tradition that all would bring an offering to the church on Christmas Eve and when the angels, who supposedly dwelt in the lofty bell tower, determined an offering had been made that was truly made from someone’s heart to exemplify that person’s devotion to God, they would ring those bells.
No bells had rung for years–what does that tell you; no offerings had merited that the angels should ring the bells. Offerings had been made but not in the true spirit of giving as the angels required. The wealthy tried to out do each other, some gave what they could spare after all else was accommodated.
Miles from the church lived a boy named Pedro and his little brother. They knew little about this grand old church and its traditions on Christmas Eve. Their mother, a very poor widow woman, did, however, know these things. She took the last coin she had and pressed it into Pedro’s hand, closed it and told him to go to the church several miles away and lay the coin upon the altar.
As the boys were getting close to the church they came upon an old woman who had fallen in the snow. They could not get any response from her so Pedro told his little brother he must go on by himself to the church and walk up the aisle and lay the coin reverently upon the altar.
The younger brother was hesitant about leaving Pedro, but big brother assured him that all would be well. So, little brother proceeded.
Another traveler came upon Pedro and the old woman and relieved Pedro of his commitment not to leave the old woman alone. He took off on a quickened pace to the church, walked down the aisle, found little brother and they approached the altar with their offering. As they laid the coin on the altar the bells began to chime. The angels had deemed it to be a sincere, true to the meaning of “giving” and had rung those majestic bells.
That’s the story. Probably the lesson is–give with a happy heart, a heart devoted to God.
See you on May 19, 1991, or in real time August 2013, God willing.