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They sorted through the bags looking for the tags, checking the numbers. This year they can read the numbers on our Advent calendar themselves.

22 . . . 19 . . . 18 . . .12 . . .9 . . . 11 . . . 8 . . . 6

“Six!”A list of books in our advent calendar this year

Even before the book is out of the cloth bag, jolly with gingerbread men, they start exclaiming, the little one peering over the big one’s shoulder.

“Oh, I LOVE that book!”

“Me too! I luv it”

And then “Can we read it now?”

I sit on the couch and snuggle in on either side of me, a red head resting on one side, the a blond one on the other. I melt into that middle.

“On Christmas eve, many years ago,” I begin.

My big girl half shivers next to me, anticipating the rest of the story, and leans in a little closer. I smile and keep reading.

I heard the bell for many years, but then nothing. I worried that I’d never hear it again, that Christmas would be quiet and dim in our house.

Even though this month is still full of shadows, light has returned—the gentle glow of the Christmas tree, the warming light of the fire, the dancing excitement in my girls’ eyes.

They run around the house sometimes singing “Jingle Bells” and shaking the bracelets they made with tiny bells pipe cleaners. It’s a tinny sound, but in that enthusiasm, I can almost hear the richer, magical tones of that other bell.

When I’m done reading, we sit for a minute in the warmth and light and quiet before, I prompt them, “Time to get ready.”

The sky, and with it the room, has brightened. The bus will be here soon. In the bright kitchen, I stir oatmeal and call out to the girls to get dressed, but throughout the day there is that moment of peace and warm light and maybe a little magic.


Do you hear the bell at Christmas?Writing Prompt: Describe a holiday moment of comfort or joy.

In the comments, share something that gives you comfort or joy this time of year.