Tag Archive | message

Ding, dong. Ding, dong.

silverbellsI can’t hold off any longer. One of my personal favorite songs of Christmas is Carol of the Bells. There is something powerful yet simplistic about the music. Although it has lyrics, even without them, this piece is moving in both a literal and figurative sense. It makes you wish you had musical talent and the ability to conduct a full orchestra even though it was originally intended to be sung without accompaniment.

In the early 1900’s, Russian composer Mykola Leontovych created the music for the Carol of the Bells, and Peter Wilhousky added the lyrics based on a traditional Ukrainian folk chant. It’s the repetition of the familiar four-note motif (ostinato motif) that creates the melodic consistency, which serves to imbed it in your mind.  Listen to the instrumental version to see if you don’t agree.

When you listen to the Carol of the Bells sung, it is often difficult to pick up on the words because of the tempo and high soprano voices. Yet the refrain of “Merry, merry, merry Christmas” is easily discernible and a message anyone could embrace. In written form, however, you could see a deeper, more meaningful message, one that is also simplistic yet formidable. (See below)

The lyrics capture the essence of bells ringing out an announcement of great import. Like the melody, the words bring impact because of their consistency and inclusivity. The message is for everyone – young and old, those meek and bold – much like the Gospel itself.  The true point of Christmas affirms Jesus is here, God is with us. He came bringing good cheer (good news) bears the same tidings of the angels on that first Christmas. The refrain of “Merry, merry, merry Christmas” mirrors that of the excited shepherds who couldn’t wait to visit the babe in the manger and share with everyone what they saw. The message does not change. It continues and the bells pound it out far and wide so that everyone has opportunity to respond, just as we do today.

Ok, so now that I’ve thought a little more about the song’s lyrics, I like that version, too.

Carol Of The Bells

Hark! how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say,
“Throw cares away.”
Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

Ding, dong, ding, dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From ev’rywhere
Filling the air

Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O’er hill and dale,
Telling their tale,
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas

On, on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone
To ev’ry home

Ding, dong, ding, dong.

What’s the point?

Have you ever listened to a speaker, participated in a conversation or read a letter, email, article or book and come away with an overwhelming sense of wonder? Not because the message provided deeper insight or new perspectives, but because you had no idea what the person was talking about? It’s happened to me too. 

Excellent communication is critical because it can make or break relationships. Whether at personal, business or even national levels, communicating clearly (either verbally or in writing) requires a concentrated effort. If the speaker or writer fails to make a point, it becomes an exercise in futility.

If you’re the person with the message, it’s important for you to know your target audience – not just by name, title or demographic. Whether we realize it or not, we sometimes categorize people using statistics or broad-based generalities, yet each person is an individual with needs and wants the same as we have. As much as possible, we must understand who they are and how they think. What’s important to them, why do they need to know what we’re telling them, and how will all of this benefit them? If we have an idea of who they are, then we can speak their language to get our point across. 

Communication is a multi-party process. If you’re in the listening/receiving chair, (and I’m speaking to myself here), have the courage to ask for clarification if you don’t understand. If we don’t, we’ve wasted our time and may miss out on something really important.