David Jeremiah on the Significance of Bells in the Christmas Season

David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif.


Clarence Odbody was an angel sent to earth to earn his wings by being the guardian angel of George Bailey. George was despondent over his bank being on the verge of failure and decided to end his life. But Clarence saved George by showing him the good he had accomplished in the lives of those in Bedford Falls, his hometown.

When George reunited with his family on Christmas Eve, and after the bank had been saved through generous donations from those who appreciated him, a bell on the Christmas tree rings. George’s daughter, ZuZu, says to her father, “Look, Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” George then looks toward heaven with a grateful, “Attaboy, Clarence!” Who doesn’t shed a tear at that fabulous scene at the end of the perennial Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life?”

The bell in It’s a Wonderful Life was a brilliant device because bells are such a part of the holiday season. We hear church bells ringing, Salvation Army workers ringing their handbells as they receive donations, and — if we’re fortunate — we get to hear the jingle bells on the harness of a horse as it plows through a snowy wonderland.

The bell that rang when Clarence Odbody got his wings was a sign that he had done a good deed — saving George Bailey. But in another sense, it was recognition of all the good deeds that George Bailey had done for others. He had given up his dream of traveling the world to stay in Bedford Falls after his father died suddenly. And he treated his savings and loan customers like they were family. George Bailey learned a powerful lesson — that doing good for others is part of the Christmas spirit. And he was reminded of this when he heard that little bell ring.

This should be a reminder to us all that Christmas includes the theme of doing good for others, just as others — especially God — have done for us.

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Source: Baptist Press