December 1989

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The Berlin Wall had just fallen.

The Iron Curtain’s fierce hold on Eastern Europe was being pulled back.

In South Africa the rumours were Nelson Mandela would soon be released from prison.

A Season of Hope.

I was staying with a Dutch family in Leewarden, The Netherlands that Christmas. My first away from home. 19 years old.

Growing up in Canada you could almost always be certain of snow. Of a tree in the house. Presents round the bottom.

No snow on the North Sea that year. A tree, yes, but not like the one’s I was used to.

That Christmas was something different. Holy and sacred. The reality was, we were steps from history.

A silent Christmas eve. Real candles on the tree, lit only for a few moment. But so magical.

My first Christmas Eve away from Canada. I went to bed a bit homesick and lonely. Sleep came easy.

And then morning came, bright sunlight shone through the weeping windows.

And the bells.

The bells of every church in the city tolled.

Communism. Atheism. Injustice. Defeated.

At least that day when the bells rang out across the city.

The bells announcing His birth. His promise. His sacrifice. His Love.

Listen to the bells…

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