And so it begins, 2022 version of a story for Christmas. For those of you unfamiliar with this idea, many years ago the Pawtucket (RI) Times newspaper ran a serialized story for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. One actually had to wait to read it each day. I always looked forward to reading the story. Six years ago, I started my own version and this is this year’s story…
The Lost Spirit of Christmas
“Marley was dead,” read Declan, pulling himself closer to his grandfather as he once again began a Christmastime tradition. The nightly reading of “A Christmas Carol” was something he remembered his grandfather doing, it seemed, forever and this year it was his turn to start.
But the familiar lines seemed different this year, dead to him. As dead as, “Old Marley was dead as a doornail…” and so it seemed the spirit of Christmas.
“What’s wrong, Declan?” his grandfather asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Now that I’m old Christmas just doesn’t seem the same.”
His grandfather laughed. “Old? Your what, nine years old?”
“Nine and a half.” Declan answered, the book dropped to his lap as he sat up as straight as he could.
His grandfather held up both hands in front of himself. “My apologies, nine and a half. You’re approaching ancient status. Almost Methuselah-like…”
“Who?” Declan shook his head, “No, not like you but I know Santa isn’t real.”
His grandfather’s eyes twinkled a bit. “Are you sure about that?”
“Yeah, all my friends know it is all made up. There’s no way anyone could go to all those countries and leave gifts for all those people in one night. No way. So Christmas isn’t the same to me. I don’t have any Christmas Spirit. I guess it’s all part of growing up.”
“Hmm,” his grandfather said. “I’m grown up—a lot more than you—and I still believe in Santa and the Christmas Spirit.”
Declan’s eyes widened. “You do?”
The old man nodded.
“No you don’t. This is one of your pranks you pull all the time. I’m not falling for it.”
“Okay, but maybe you and I could go find your missing Christmas spirit together.”
“And how would we do that?”
His grandpa smiled, looking around to see if anyone was watching. Declan looked too, but he wasn’t sure why. Everyone else was off doing other things.
“We will start first thing in the morning. A quest for the spirit of Christmas.”
“But I have school in the morning.”
“Perfect, we can start there,” his grandfather said.
“You’re coming to school with me?” Declan’s eyes blinked.
“In spirit, I am” his grandpa laughed. “In spirit.”