Every year I write a Christmas story to share with the family. This year I decided to “go Dickens” and publish it in installments. So here is part one of four parts for the first Sunday of Advent. I hope you enjoy it.
Joseph had a new bedroom and it was very large. Finally, he did not have his brother cleaning things up all the time and he could get some rest. He could take his shoes off and not get yelled at because his feet were (admittedly) stinky.
Right now, he had his shoes off and he was sitting on his desk chair holding a shoelace, swinging a big sneaker three (and only three) times and then lofting it clear across his huge room into an empty box. The box had been full of clothes until his mother forced him to put them away. He told her, “You packed it so well, why can’t I just use the box?”
She said, “You can put them away just as neatly.”
He said, “Why did you pack them to move up one flight of stairs?’
She left with “You’ll see you father shortly.”
He called after her, “No need. I’m moving.” He eventually moved.
His only movement now was reluctantly getting up every two shots because he had yet to miss the box with either shoe. This finesse was unexpected. It was nice. But it did require he get off the chair and retrieve his shoes. His arm was actually getting a bit tired. Size 14 ½ shoes are surprisingly heavy. But he could not stop until he missed. And not missing had the added benefit of effectively avoiding his latest assignment.
Joseph was supposed to write a Christmas story, which seemed a little ironic, him being named Joseph and all. What’s more, his mother’s name was Mary, which was also a little ironic, if not awkward. Dad’s name was Mitch. It was not surprising that Dad’s parents were not the grandparents showing up for Christmas this year, for like the second time since he was in second grade. He could hardly even remember the last time. They always went to see his mom’s parents at their spectacular house in Maine during the summer. But they usually stayed in Florida during the winter. At least he thought it was Florida.
Joseph was not well-known for paying attention. So Grandma and Papa (accent on the end) could be anywhere at any given time. But they were scheduled for Christmas. Mom was a little anxious about the whole visit. Thus, his clothes needed to be stowed. Her parents wrote books for a living. Since they were successful at it, they needed no present s for Christmas and made that very clear. The only gift they wanted was a Christmas story from each kid. They thought that “would be very charming,” is how Mom put it. He felt a bit of pressure, being the oldest. So instead of feeling pressure, he was throwing a giant shoe into a box in his smelly room.
Dad came up to check on progress, huffing and puffing a bit after three floors. He was not as thin as he used to be. “Can you believe what’s happening in Ukraine?” he asked.
“What?” A shoe dangled from his finger.
“You have to know about Ukraine,” he said.
“I haven’t been following it that much.” He knew everything about Ukraine, but he did not feel like chatting with Dad about it.
“Your mom says you are avoiding your story.”
“Not really.” But how did she know these things? He hardly knew that himself!
“Look. I know this is a hassle. But your mom is going through some personal stuff right now and a lot of it has to do with her mom. I won’t bore you with the details. But it would be nice if you showed up a bit. The story doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but it would be good if it had some religion in it. They are very Christian, and it is a Christmas story. You want some help with some ideas or something?”
He had to admit it. Dad could be very helpful. “No. I’m good.”
“OK. I’ll leave you to it. You do know it is Christmas Eve in three days, right? And you have to go to school for two of them?”
“Yes. I know.” He knew slightly. But now he had Christ all over everything and it was kind of freaking him out. “Jesus!” he did not say out loud.
Continued next Sunday…