City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style – in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile, and on every street corner you hear: silver bells. Silver bells. It’s Christmas time in the city. Ring-a-ling. Here them ring, soon it will be Christmas Day.
In honor of my family’s little getaway to one of our nation’s major cities, this song seemed an appropriate choice for this weekend.
Though not originally sung by him, this song was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1950. The lyrics describe in detail the sights and sounds of the Christmas season that one can see in cities around the country (and, in some cases the world). There are cheery greetings, busy shoppers, and decorations everywhere. Though much has changed over the last seventy years, the scene this song paints is still remarkably accurate.
There really is nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of a city during the holidays and the surrounding festive feeling.
Nevertheless, we should never forget that there are many in major (and not so major) cities who do not have basic necessities, let alone money to “do” Christmas. Though it is wrong to use charitable causes as a source for holiday entertainment, as one of my colleagues has very astutely pointed out, it is still of the utmost importance to find ways to support those who are in need. Throughout the year. And especially at Christmas.
But here’s a thought: do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, as Jesus said. Make the donations anonymously. Seek no recognition. Just spread love and kindness for its own sake and for the sake of the Child of Bethlehem. Because Christmas is about seeing all those who hide in the shadows. Making them welcome. Seeking the better world for which Christ lived and died – one where all are included, supported, and empowered.
Lessons & Carols – In the Bleak Midwinter