Ding dong merrily on high, in heaven the bells are ringing; ding dong! verily the sky is riven with angels singing. Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
The exact origins of this tune are unknown, though they seem to be of medieval origins. The lyrics were written in the nineteenth century for children’s choirs. They mimic the ringing bells of Christmas morning – which in turn mirror the sound of the heavenly choirs of angels rejoicing in the Christ-child’s birth.
This song is simple in its wording and playful in its melody. It lends itself well to joyful Christmas celebrations – though it may leave you breathless.
Theologically, the gift this song offers is to draw our attention to the full cosmos at play in the Nativity story. It reminds us that not only is there great rejoicing on earth, but even the heavens are full of merriment as they celebrate God’s salvation unfolding in the world.
Pray you, dutifully prime your matin chime, ye ringers; may you beautifully rhyme your evetime song, ye singers. Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!