when you hear a jingle bell what comes to mind? how would you describe a jingle bell to someone who has never heard one? and how can a simple lesson from a jingle bell translate to our lives? together with my dear friend krista at the homemade renegade, we decided three characteristics really stand out. jingle bells are: CHEERFUL, they are CLEAR, and they are CONNECTED.
jingle bells are simply CHEERFUL! close your eyes and imagine the sound of a jingle bell. how does it make you feel? for me, jingle bells proclaim joy, happiness, and lightness of spirit. you can’t help but feel more festive when you hear their distinct sound. what’s your sound? are you like the jingle bell? are you cheerful? do you spread joy with your voice? cheerfulness is a choice and, if you’re like me, some days you choose to wear it, and other days you don’t. we get to decide every day whether we will put it on or not. consider the bright, cheery sound of the jingle bell when nothing mutes its ring. it is beautiful and clear. if you put your hand over the bell and try to ring it the sound becomes muddied, muted, and flat. the same is true for us. this season, choose to not allow any person, relationship, or the stress of our to-do list mute or dull the sound of our bell. refuse to be easily offended, frustrated, or irritated. be easily impressed. make the choice of cheerfulness in every circumstance, and let your bell ring cheerfully clear for all to hear.
a jingle bell’s ring is CLEAR. it is distinct. if you were in a busy airport or in the crowded stands of a football game, and jingle bells started ringing you would know, in an instant what they were. you wouldn’t question whether they were cowbells, doorbells, or a dinner bell….you would know without a second thought, they were the unmistakable sound of a jingle bell. they have their own voice. their own sound. and so do we. we were made to ring our own clear voice. and like a jingle bell that knows its own ring, there is nothing more fun and alluring than a woman who makes a cheerful sound. a sound that is true to her nature.
when we are true to our voice we are genuine. we don’t strive to sound like another bell. we don’t allow another to dull or mute our sound. we learn in the polar express, that the only way to silence a jingle bell is to stop believing in it’s magic. the same is true of our voice. only if we ourselves stop believing in our voice will we silence it’s ring and suppress it’s gift.
imagine yourself back in that airport or the football stands when the jingle bells start ringing. if you’re anything like me you would be talking or eating or cheering – but the sound of the jingle bells would make you stop. wouldn’t it? it would get your attention. it would make you wonder, what’s going on? you would listen. jingle bells don’t just ring for the heck of it. they bring a message of cheer. they are hopeful, joyful, wishful, warm, encouraging, inspiring, they provoke memory, they ignite in us a desire. when we use our voice, we have a choice to ring a clear message of hope, a message that would make people STOP, and listen.
so ring with intention, have the courage to be authentic and ring with integrity because we know that our voice is enough. it is what we have, it is our gift to this world, it is the light that we bring with the voice we were given. and if we ring cheer, if we make a joyful sound, people will stop to hear our voice. they will be inspired to ring their own sound and join with us, together.
jingle bells ring better when they are CONNECTED together. consider the flash mob trend. who doesn’t love the element of surprise?! shoppers are going about their business when suddenly a lone voice rises from the food court and bursts into song. voices begin to ring out from every side of the mall, spreading the spirit of Christmas, until the space is filled with joy through song. no one is untouched by this incredibly beautiful experience of unity. the same concept is true of jingle bells. the one single bell is pure and sweet, and has it’s own special role, but jingle bells are the most beautiful when they ring together. most of the time, you will find them on a string or in a cluster, because together is where they function at their best.
how connected are you this holiday season? are you out there just ringing your little bell alone? or are you connected to other bells that add depth and breadth to your music? that you bounce off, learn with, grow from, are inspired by…who spur you on to make an even greater, more beautiful sound. make it a point this season to make time for those you love. schedule that long overdue date night with your husband. sit by the fire and read books as a family. turn off the lights and admire the twinkling tree. go to lunch with your girlfriends, maybe even bake that fruitcake with grandma. delight in the magic. we are meant to ring together.
so what can we learn from a jingle bell this year?