“The Bell Still Rings,” Tambuli, Dec. 1990, 15
Several years ago just before Christmas, my niece, Shelly, took hold of her mother’s hand and asked seriously, “Is it okay if I believe just one more year?”
Since that memorable happening several years ago, our family has established a family tradition. Each year on Christmas Eve, we gather together around the tree. With the lights low and the fire burning in the fireplace, we ask the question once again, the most important question of the year, “Is it okay if we believe one more year?”—not only believe in the traditions of childhood with Santa Claus, but more importantly in the message of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose birthday we are celebrating. Do we believe in his mission, his atonement, his resurrection? Do we believe in his invitation to come and follow him?
Of course we are not really committing ourselves for only a year. We are pledged to follow the Savior forever. But we live life a day, a week, a month, a year at a time, and Christmas is a season to focus on the year ahead and reconfirm our discipleship.
Following the discussion and the commitment, someone reads aloud The Polar Express by Chris Von Allsburg, a story that tells how those who have faith can always hear the clear sound of a silver bell.
Following the story, we each receive a small new bell on a red satin ribbon to wear around our necks during the holidays. We listen for its clear sound as a testimony and commitment that we truly believe and will strive to live as we believe one more year. While the fire burns low, we then read from the Bible the glorious account of the Christmas story recorded by Luke telling of the birth of the Savior as announced by an angel, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), and we believe.