The Miracle of the Christmas Bell
It was nearly dark on Christmas Eve before Dan could force himself to open the old shed door. Inside laid neatly stacked weary cardboard boxes containing almost twenty years of holiday traditions, celebrations, and memories. Sheri had always been particular about properly storing everything to make unboxing easy. Dan never wanted toopen those cartons again. He didn’t want to remember anything this year. Maybe never.
As he stood in the dilapidated doorway, he noticed a small silver bell on the floor. Becca’s. She was always ringing them. They were her favorite holiday decoration. She loved the way they reflected the colored lights and the jangles heralded the season. How many times had he snapped at her to quiet down? Why had he done that? What television news story or football play was worth it? She had been only twelve. Dan choked down his rage at a universe that would take such a young child. He kicked the bell, sending it ricocheting into the blackness. He wished out loud that he would never have to hear those bells again.
The walls shuddered as he slammed the worn door shut. Dan stormed back inside his silent, dimmed house. He slunk into his recliner and tried to forget what had been his life until ten months ago. Alone with his sorrow, Dan disappeared.
It was around midnight when he heard it. Faintly, from somewhere outside came the gentle tinkling of a bell. At first he thought it was his imagination, but the sound persisted. He wished the bell would stop; he covered his ears. The ringing crept past his hands and grew louder. Dan launched himself out of his chair and flung open the door. As his eyes adjusted to the crisp moonlit night, he heard it again. The jingling was coming from the shed.
Slowly Dan approached the shack. Could this be real? Surely this must be his mind finally breaking after all the tragedy he’d been through. He put his hand on the tired, cold wood and pushed.
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