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christmas_bells.jpgIntroduction
Biblically, God instructed the Israelites to put bells on the robe of the High Priest’s ephod before he entered the Holy of Holies. (Exodus 28:31-35; 39:26). Matthew Henry, interpreted the bells as an allegory that “typify the sound of the gospel of Christ in the world, giving notice of His entrance within the veil for us.”

Bells have become an integral part of our Christmas traditions. Throughout history bells have been used to celebrate special occasions. Their bright and cheerful sound was a reminder that something important was happening. In many villages throughout the world people would ring the church bell on special occasions. Bells announced the coming or arrival of an event. They toll for good times. They were rung during Christmas to announce the arrival of the season, to proclaim the birth of Christ.

Christmas bells are also mentioned in many of our holiday songs such as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, “Come on, Ring those Bells”, “Jingle Bells”, “Silver Bells”, and “Christmas Bells are Ringing”. Bells are also used to “ring out the old and ring in the new” season!

Activity Objective
In this Creative Teaching Idea, Christmas Bells are both an object lesson and a prop for games.

Materials

    • Handbells or Bells of various shapes and pitches.
    • Sleigh Bells
    • Blindfolds
    • String

Game Ideas using Christmas Bells

 

Ring those Bells

  1. Place a small sleigh bell on a string and tie one to everyone’s ankle.
  2. Played similar to the classic Marco Polo game that is played in a swimming pool, this one is played in a large open room. (Make sure chairs and other dangerous objects are removed from the room. Station leaders in front of any dangerous corners or objects to prevent a blindfolded person from injuring him/herself.
  3. Blindfold one person and place them in the center of the room with a large handbell.
  4. Any time she/he rings the bell EVERYONE in the room must shake their leg to respond with the ring of the small bell tied to their ankle.
  5. The blindfolded person then heads toward the sound and tries to tag one of the other participants. If he or she manages to tag one of them, they become the blindfolded person in the center and the game begins again!

 

Jingle Bell Lineup

  1. If you have a small group and several hand-bells of various pitches, blindfold everyone in the room and give them a hand-bell.
  2. Then, by listening to the sounds of the bells they must line themselves up according to the pitch of the bells.
  3. For a larger group, split them into teams and use a stopwatch to time each team.
  4. The team that is able to line up the quickest is the winner!

 

Bell on a String

  1. A length of string should be tied into a large loop, big enough so that everyone can take hold of it with both hands and have some slack. Before you tie the end of the string run it through the holes in one or two classic sleigh bells. Make sure that the knot easily fits through the hole in the bell. If the holes are too small, attach the bells to the loop with a small key ring or small loop of string. The small round bells should be small enough to be hidden in a closed fist.
  2. Designated someone as “it” who must cover his eyes and count to 10, while the players in the circle pass the bells from player to player by sliding it around the circle on the string. When “it” reaches the count of 10, he must try to guess who is holding the ring.
  3. If he guesses a person has the bell, the person indicated, must let go of the string to show whether he has the bell or not.
  4. If “it” guessed wrong, the whole thing begins again.
  5. People can try to fake passing the bell to another person or someone in the circle may say some misleading remarks while it’s back is to them.

 

The Christmas Bell as an Object Lesson
Inside each sleigh bell there is a tiny ball which makes the ringing sound as it bounces around the inside of the bell. On other bells there is a ball on the end of a piece of string or metal that hits against the inside of the bell and causes it to ring. In the same way, we must ring out the true meaning of Christmas for the world to hear. Let the holiday joyfully ring from our hearts! The joy comes from within because he fills our hearts with hope and peace!

Hold the bell tight in your fist and shake it. Of course, the sound will be dull if anything is heard at all. When we played the game with the bells on the string, many of you were trying to keep the bell from ringing out. What are some of the things that dampen our joy at Christmas? Has the joy of Christmas gotten lost in a circle of closed fists? Does the joy of Christmas ring out from your life and actions or have you allowed something to dampen your Christmas Spirit?

Sing the classic Christmas song:
Come on, Ring Those Bells

Everybody likes to take a holiday
Everybody likes to take a rest
Spending time together with the family
Sharing lots of love and happiness.
Come on, ring those bells,
Light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the king
Born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells,
Every-body say,
Jesus, we remember
This your birthday.
Celebrations come because of something good.
Celebrations we love to recall
Mary had a baby boy in Bethleham
the greatest celebration of all.
Come on, ring those bells,
Light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the King
Born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells,
Everybody say,
Jesus, we remember
This your birthday.

Application
Christmas Bells remind us of the joy of Christmas! Joy to the World, The King has come!
It’s Jesus Birthday! What is one way you can let the joy of Christmas Ring out in YOUR life this season?

 

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