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A Visit by the Spirit of Christmas

It was the day before Christmas in 1879.  Six-year-old Timmy rolled over and looked at the gold jingle bells on his bedside table.  He lifted and shook them, but the only sound they made was a click click click.  Why wouldn’t his bells ring like the ones of his older brother and sister had in past Christmases?  He thought about the past year.  Had he been a bad boy?

Tomorrow, when they sleighed over to Grandmother’s farm for Christmas dinner, Father would tie the bells to Blacky’s harness, right up on top of the horse’s shoulders.  Timmy remembered how the bells of his brother and sister had jingled all the way to Grandmother’s place and back.  But this year there would only be a clicking sound as Blacky pranced along pulling the sleigh behind him.

“Please, Santa, give me bells that jingle.  I won’t ask for anything else,” Timmy begged.

“Time to get up, Tim,” he heard his father’s voice gently call from the bedroom door.

“Okay, Dad,” Timmy replied, sitting up in bed and rubbing his eyes.

On the way down the stairs, Father asked, “Did I hear you praying for something?”

“Sort of,” Timmy admitted.  “I was asking Santa to leave me some new bells.  The ones I’ve got only make clicking sounds.”

After breakfast Father asked Timmy to show him the bells.  Timmy ran back up the stairs and returned with the bells.

“Hm-m-m,” Father thought aloud.  “These bells definitely don’t jingle.”

“I must have been a bad boy,” Timmy half whispered.

“Oh I don’t know about that,” Father answered.  “I’ll tell you what.  We’ll hang the bells next to your stocking.  Maybe Santa will be able to fix them tonight.”

Father shook the bells again.  But they only made the clicking sound.

“Maybe it’s this leather strap that attaches them to Blacky’s harness,” Timmy heard his father mumble.  Timmy and Father went into the living room and Father hung the bells by their leather strap from a nail next to Timmy’s stocking.

“Do you believe in Santa, Dad?” Timmy asked.  His older brother had told him that Santa didn’t exist.

“I believe in the Spirit of Christmas,” his father smiled.

“But can the Spirit fix bells that won’t jingle?” Timmy asked.

“The Spirit of Christmas can cause miracles to happen,” Father answered.  “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The day went by pleasantly, as Christmas eves usually do.  The last thing Timmy looked at, before going up the stairs to go to bed, were the bells hanging next to his stocking.

“Please, Santa,” he said under his breath.  “I promise I’ll be a good boy next year.”

Timmy had a dream that night.  It wasn’t about Santa Claus.  It was about the Spirit Father had spoken of.  The next morning he sprang from bed and ran down the stairs before the rest of the family was stirring.  He crept into the living room and looked above the fireplace.  Hanging there were his two bells, but they were now held together by a beautiful red ribbon like the ones in Mother’s sewing basket.

With trembling fingers, Timmy took the bells down and shook them.  With a rush of happiness he heard them go jingle, jingle.  Father’s voice shook him from his reverie.

“It sounds like Santa was able to fix them,” Father said.

“Yes, they’re fixed all right,” Timmy answered brightly.  But I dreamed that the Spirit of Christmas visited us during the night and fixed them.  I sure am glad you told me about the Spirit yesterday.”

“So am I, son,” Timmy’s father answered with a smile.  “So am I.”