Message of the Bells

This folk-style Christmas hymn was written by Australian Roman Catholic (Franciscan Missionary of Mary) religious sister, Irene O'Connor FMM (ref).   

The song was written in the 1960s while she was working as a teacher in Singapore.    It is the title track of a two-song 7 inch EP which was released under the His Master's Voice label in Australia in 1973 (ref).   The other song is Come to Bethlehem.  The B-side contained instrumental versions of the songs from the A-side.

The lyrics are not as elegant as those in some of O'Connor's later songs, but they do include the phrase "A holiday to frolic in the sun", acknowledging the situation of southern hemisphere Christmas celebrations.     

If you have any information about uses on this song, or where to find sheet-music, please leave a message in the Comments box near the bottom of this page. 


Examples

Original recording by Irene O'Connor:


Lyrics

Chorus:
Can you hear the Christmas Bells are ringing,
Do you understand what they would say?
Open up your heart and hear their message:
Christmas is a very special day.

1 Is it just a day
When the children laugh and play
With the toys that Santa gave them for their fun?
Is it just a feast
With some special things to eat
A holiday to frolic in the sun?

2 Why is it we send
Gifts and cards to special friends
Wishing them the peace and joy of Christmas-tide?
Is it just a time
When we celebrate with wine
With parties and dances late at night?

3 What does Christmas mean,
Is it just a simple scene,
Of a gentle Maiden with her newborn Babe?
Christmas is much more
For the rich man and the poor
GOD GIVES HIS SON TO US ALL.

Spoken interlude instead of the chorus:
Yes God so loved that he sent us his only Son
The light of the world,
So that those who believe in him will be no longer in darkness
And those who follow him will have eternal life.

So today when Christmas bells are ringing
Listen to their message as they say:
God so loves the world that the has sent us
Jesus who was born anew today.


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KEEP IN CASE ORIGINAL IS REMOVED, BUT DO NOT DISPLAY
Chorus:
Can you hear the Christmas Bells are ringing,
Do you understand what they would say?
Open up your heart and hear their message:
Christmas is a very special day.

1 Is it just a day
When the children laugh and play
With the toys that Santa gave them for their fun?
Is it just a feast
With some special things to eat
A holiday to frolic in the sun?

2 Why is it we send
Gifts and cards to special friends
Wishing them the peace and joy of Christmas-tide?
Is it just a time
When we celebrate with wine
With parties and dances late at night?

3 What does Christmas mean,
Is it just a simple scene,
Of a gentle Maiden with her newborn Babe?
Christmas is much more
For the rich man and the poor
GOD GIVES HIS SON TO US ALL.

Spoken interlude instead of the chorus:
Yes God so loved that he sent us his only Son
The light of the world,
So that those who believe in him will be no longer in darkness
And those who follow him will have eternal life.

So today when Christmas bells are ringing
Listen to their message as they say:
God so loves the world that the has sent us
Jesus who was born anew today.

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