“In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar” (Zechariah 14:20).

In these strange times when the traditional Christmas carols are not considered politically correct, the secular songs associated with the gift-giving season are increasingly popular. “Silver Bells,” for example, is a pretty tune which is often sung during this season. Even this song, however, includes the phrase, “Soon it will be Christmas Day,” and so may be banned eventually by the secularists. Also, the bells of the song may cause one to think of the Salvation Army, so this also might be offensive.

But just how did bells become associated with Christmas anyway–or with Christianity itself for that matter? Bells are never mentioned at all in the New Testament. Yet many churches have bells, which are often rung at weddings or funerals, or even just to announce church services. The chorus of a once-familiar hymn even featured the words “when they ring those golden bells for you and me.”

In the Old Testament, two kinds of bells are mentioned. A group of one type of golden bells were on the bottom hem of the robe of the high priest, so that “his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out” (Exodus 28:35).

The other type of bell was that mentioned in the text above. It seems that ancient war horses, especially among the Assyrians, were fitted with bells which would sound out fiercely while charging into battle. In that wonderful age to come, on the other hand, the bells on the horses will ring out glorifying the holiness of God.

Perhaps the bells of Christmas can remind us of both God’s holiness and the sacrifice of our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. HMM

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