When you think of the sounds of Christmas, what do you think of? Carols, laughter, cash registers, church bells sounding people to services….

Just the other day we looked around the Hyundai Department store, a high end department store chain that features the latest in fashion. It was decked out for the Christmas season with Christmas music, decorations, the works. Within the past couple of weeks I have noticed that Seoul has begun to get ready for the Christmas season and the Hyundai department store is no exception. Christmas trees have popped up everywhere in the subway stations and the windows of the shops around Seoul are decorated for the Holidays. The other thing I noticed was that the Salvation Army has a real presence here just like in the US. Along with all the other sounds of Christmas,

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Remembering those in need in Seoul. Courtesy of Joongang ilbo.

I always think of the bells of the Salvation Army volunteers with their red buckets reminding passerbys with each ring of the bell that the we need to remember the most needy along with our loved ones when we think of giving this season. An interesting note about the Salvation Army is that it is actually a Christian denomination. I think most people when they think of the Salvation Army, think of the bell ringers and of soup kitchens. However, the Salvation Army is even more than that. It was a church that was begun in London with an emphasis on the Gospel’s message concerning social welfare. Their practices stem from the belief that we need to take care of both the spiritual and physical needs of the people.

The Salvation Army is truly doing a great thing. The Christmas season is definitely more than just giving and receiving gifts to and from loved ones. But it is time to remember all of God’s children, those who are both in physical as well as spiritual need. The scriptures are full of examples of Jesus ministering unto the spiritual and physical needs of the people. He cared for both, and so should we. I hope that we can all think a little more clearly of our responsibilities as Christians each time we hear those bells toll; because each bell tolls for someone.

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