As Christmas day drew near, Charles thought he would try again to reach Henry. Perhaps he could tell him about that chaplain's wonderful sermon. “Father,” he began, “Just before I got shot, I was fortunate enough to hear a wonderful Christmas sermon from the young chaplain.”
Henry scowled. “A Christmas sermon in November?”
“Well, it was sort-of a pre-Christmas sermon—but a good one. Can I tell you about it, Father?
Henry scowled again and said “No, Son, I don't want to hear about any sermons, Christmas or otherwise. As I told you before, I want nothing to do with God. Now, shall we talk about something else?”
Charles sighed. “O.K., Father.”
So, it was yet another dreary Christmas. He did go to the stores, fight the crowds and get some good presents for the children, but his heart was still not at all in it. The check couldn't bring back Fanny or heal Charles' injury. It was only money and might as well be spent. So he did. He felt worse than ever with both Fanny dead and Charles so seriously injured from fighting in a war that should have never been started in the first place.
The other children tried to be merry and to cheer him up, but he still wouldn't listen. They lit again the tree outside the window, which had been decorated for two Christmases now, and made him some more simple token presents. They had the token gift exchange, but for him there was no joy. They kept wishing him “Merry Christmas” and he kept saying “Not, for me, children,” so they simply put on their winter clothes and went outside to play. Thus another Christmas came and went, with only a slight glimmer of gladness to brighten the deep darkness of his heavy heart. Bells were ringing on Christmas day, but they seemed somehow in the far distance, unable as yet to penetrate his deep despair. But to the children, as they played outside, their sound was a welcome bit of Christmas cheer.
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