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Church Bells Ring

She wanted to hear the church bells ring in the new year…but they hadn’t rung in 17 years.

A group of large church bells

Mrs. Webb was blind and frail and her health had been declining for many months. She and her husband lived in the shadow of our church, Headland First Baptist.

On New Year’s Eve she went to bed early as usual while Mr. Webb watched TV. Then unexpectedly at 10:30, she came into the living room and announced, “Honey, I think we should stay up until midnight and hear the church bells ring.”

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In all the years they had lived in town, Mr. Webb could not remember hearing church bells at midnight on New Year’s Eve. As far as he could recall, the bell at First Baptist had not been rung in over 17 years. Nevertheless Mr. Webb replied, “Of course, dear, come and sit beside me. We’ll see the new year in together.”

And so they sat and talked, waiting. Midnight came and with it the unmistakable sound of a church bell. “There it is,” Mrs. Webb said, and indeed, the bell high in the steeple at First Baptist was ringing.

That was to be the last night that this old married couple was to spend together, for in the morning Mrs. Webb died peacefully in her sleep.

Mr. Webb did not know that the bell at First Baptist had only recently been fixed. Nor did he know that a youth group was spending the night in the church in a “lock in,” or that on the spur of the moment the young people would decide to ring in the new year.

His wife knew none of these things either, but somehow she knew the bell would toll.

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