Heard No Bells, but Saw a Star

Thursday, October 2

10-2By John Bonney of Springfield, Oregon, USA

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

—Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV

Peace on Earth and goodwill is not just for Christmas. I often ponder on the third verse of the hymn, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The poet bows his head in despair and says, “There is no peace on earth…For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth…” Then Henry Longfellow continues by writing how the bells rang out, and the sound restored his hope.

I didn’t hear any bells, but something else happened to me on a predawn fall morning. I saw a star. The temperature on our patio was 22 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cold for my part of the world. An inch-deep snowfall was beginning to melt on the valley floor. When I went out to get the newspaper, daylight was two hours away. I found the newspaper and turned to go back to the house—and there it was. That star—such a star!

But wait a minute. I had seen many stars; yet something was different about this star. It hung low and bright in the southeast sky. Immediately the thought struck me that maybe the Bethlehem star of the Christmas story looked like the star I saw.

It held me in awe, wonder, and—yes, I must say it—it held me in the bonds of hope. I did not hear any bells, but I did see a star. For me the result was the same as it must have been for Henry Longfellow on hearing the bells.

I did some research and found the “star” was not a star at all. It was the planet, Venus. But it didn’t make any difference. It was a light in the sky—a light for my life. It was clear and bright, and it told a story.

Maybe, just maybe, if we focus, we could see the hope of the star with our weak and unaided eyes. Maybe we could hear the “bells of Christmas Day” or see the star of Bethlehem, and by doing so, we could hear the bells of freedom and justice. We could see the light of hope and peace in a dark and confusing time.

Prayer for Peace Bring us a quiet moment, God, so we may hear the faint bells of justice. Bring us a clear sky, that we might see a glimmer of hope in a dark world. Bring us opportunities to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Hope Close your mind to troubling thoughts from the past by placing them in God’s generous hands and letting them go. Let God speak to your fearful heart. Think of your hope for the future—open windows in your mind through which you can see compassionate actions. Reflect on the hope of the Christ child. What is your part in the reason for that hope? Rejoice in the Hope of the world.

Peace Covenant Tonight, God, I will search for stars and ponder on the hope and peace of Christ.

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  1. Linda McGeary

     /  3 October 2014

    Hi John, I always love your words of encouragement and wisdom. That song is one of my favorites, my mother’s too. It always makes me think of her. It’s funny how other people are in you and a flash of memory comes up and there they are, alive and real in a moment of time. An ordinary memory, an ordinary day, an exterordinary love.
    Thank you for all you Daily Bread sharing.

  2. Diane Akers

     /  2 October 2014

    Thanks for sharing——-so thought provoking!

  3. Reblogged this on BradBryant70 and commented:
    Peace can be a reality on earth! We don’t have to wait until some “heaven” after we’re dead. God is calling forth a people, committed to helping co-create God’s peaceable kingdom on earth today. Will you be one? Imagine… Peace and Hope for every person, every family, every relationship! It can happen. it WILL happen. I’ll do MY part! Will you?


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