Charlyne Cares for Kids


Are you standing for the restoration of your marriage? A daily devotional that will offer encouragement from God’s Word as you stand for the restoration of your marriage.

The Message of the Bell

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

Each year about this time our town has a special trolley ride through the streets, complete with a tour of the lights, hot cocoa and cookies, and a visit with Santa at the end with the gift of a sleigh bell. But the biggest part of this ride is the reading of the book, The Polar Express. I read this book to my children several times during the Christmas season and now I share it with my grandchildren. Even though they are a little older now, that trolley ride is still a part of our Christmas traditions.

It was fun to see the faces of the children gathered in the parking lot to await the arrival of the trolley. What you could see of their little faces was alight with anticipation. I knew that anticipation was the culmination of the ride and the visit with Santa. But I also knew the true message of that night, the message of the bell. “Do you still believe?”

In the book, a little boy takes a magical journey, full of danger and landscapes that he has never seen before. But the little boy trusted in the one driving the train. He knew he would get them to the North Pole safely. Maybe this is like the “journey” you and your family are on right now. It may be difficult and it may seem strange, yet it is matched step for step by the gracious, loving kindness of our God and we know we can trust Him.

You made a way through the sea and paths through the deep waters. But your footprints were not seen.  Psalm 77:19 (ICB)

When the boy finally reaches his destination, he is overwhelmed by all the peace and joy that he finds. The celebration of Christmas at the North Pole might be like the celebration in Heaven when your mom or dad finds their way back home to the Lord because you have been praying for them.

“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”  Luke 15:7 (NLT)

This lucky little boy was chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas. Instead of a fancy train set or a new bike, he chose a bell from the harness of Santa’s sleigh. The boy chose the true gift of Christmas – to believe. We have a choice, too. Will we choose to believe? Will we choose to trust? Will we still hear the bell?

When the boy returns home and finds that a hole in his robe has allowed the precious sleigh bell to escape, he is heartbroken. Even his “belief” cannot overcome this circumstance. But before the morning is over, he finds one last gift hidden behind the Christmas tree. There in the brightly wrapped package is his sleigh bell. He shakes the bell and hears the beautiful sound, a sound lost to the adults in the room. His parents console him, telling him it’s too bad the bell is broken. But the little boy knows the bell is not broken; it’s just that not everyone can still hear it. As the years progress, one by one, his friends and even his sister stop hearing the bell. But the boy, now a young man, can still hear it. He still believes.

I know there may be things in your life that make it hard to still believe. This time of year is especially difficult for families who are apart. But try to keep that bell alive. Continue to pray, to trust, to hope, to believe. Even if your friends or even some of your own family can no longer hear the bell due to circumstances, you must continue to believe.

The ride back to the farm that night was pretty quiet for a change. There wasn’t the usual chatter and questions and arguing that is so often a part of our car trips. Instead, they listened to the Christmas music coming from the radio and gazed quietly at the decorated homes we passed. And every once in awhile, very softly, I would hear one or the other of those sleigh bells ring.

Yes, I still hear the bell. And I still believe. Will you?

Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you. It is also for your children and for all who are far away. It is for everyone the Lord our God calls to himself.”  Acts 2:38-39 (ICB)

God bless


A Stander in Nebraska

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