Advent Bells

And is it that the Advent air no longer loudly rings
With any bell of recognition for the King of Kings?
When frazzled Christmas shoppers push in crowd-crushed Oxford Street
Have they a sentimental inkling they might ever meet
The one whose birth they cheaply celebrate with bargain gifts?
Or do they still deny him thrice, as, crammed into dingy lifts,
They take his name in vain when fellow customers have trod
On them? Is this the only time they breathe the name of God?
And, when they hum along to cheery carols from the band
Of the Salvation Army Mission, do they understand
That, though this season’s filled with frolic and festivity,
It stemmed from celebrations of that first nativity?
And are there still some souls who stop and think awhile and pause
And then donate their hard-earned savings to a worthy cause
And give, instead of shiny shop-bought offerings, to their kin
Those articles from charities that save the poor man’s skin?
Do massed consumers, seeking inspiration from above
For presents, also hear the message of the need for love
For humankind? Can they discover that, in the great plan
It is only our self-sacrifice that makes us truly man?
And do some spot, as others dash for one last-minute shop,
A bedraggled figure in a doorway that may make them stop
And spare a thought for down-and-outs, less fortunate than they
And glimpse the real reason Christ was born on Christmas Day?
If so, the Advent bells may ring again, no longer dumb,
When peace on earth, goodwill to all, for evermore has come.

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