THE FOURTH SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS (Part IV)

Ebenezer was walking towards the park where the Spirit of Christmas present had shown him that Belle was playing with her children. And as he walked his feet sank in the snow and his mind took him to the past where, as a young boy, he used to have fun playing with his sister in the snow. Ebenezer walked with his head down, letting his memories fill his spirit with the love he felt for Fan, his younger sister, who was still alive in his heart even after her death. With his eyes on the snow he watched the faint rays of the sun reflect two shadows walking together, Ebenezer raised his head and looked everywhere, but there was no one at his side. However, sunlight still reflected two shadows on the snow. Then Ebenezer heard someone’s laugh again, much like a child’s laugh. Bewildered, but determined he asked authoritatively, “Who is walking next to me? And why can’t I see you?”

A sweet and soft voice replied, “I am the Spirit of Eternal Christmas. You can hear me because you have opened your heart to Love, but you still cannot see me because I have just begun to live in your heart, when charity flourishes in your soul, I will strengthen myself and you can see me every day of your life. ”

Ebenezer was surprised and exclaimed, “A fourth Spirit! Jacob told me about three spirits, that of Christmas past, present and future. But he never talked about the visit of a fourth Spirit.”

“I am the Spirit of Eternal Christmas and I feed on the good works that men do for their fellowmen. Very few people have the privilege of enjoying my presence, because when Christmas presents it becomes past; The future is uncertain, and men forget to express love for the poor and needy. Then I fade away like the mist before the strong rays of the sun due to its heat.”

“Spirit of Eternal Christmas, what have you come to teach me?” Ebenezer asked.

“I have not come to teach you anything, Ebenezer, I am here to strengthen myself through you and ask you not to let me die in time.”

The words of the spirit worried Ebenezer, “Spirit, how can I prevent you from fading away with time?”

“Spirits of Christmas past, present and future have a short period of life and a specific function. But I feed on charity, which is the purest emotion that a human heart can generate and the good works they do throughout their lives. For me not to fade, people must simply learn to live and enjoy each day of their lives with a generous heart willing to give without claiming anything in return. The more selfless service people do to each other, the feeling of Eternal Christmas is strengthened, and I can live without time limits, eternally.”

“Then, next to me you will live every day of my life because I will not allow the feeling of love of my neighbor to die when I finish this Christmas day.” Ebenezer said joyfully in his words.

“I will accompany you and remain by your side, next to me you will never feel lonely again, so continue on your path. Let’s go find Belle.”

Ebenezer kept walking until he reached the shore of a small frozen lake, where Belle skated with her children. Ebenezer was perplexed by the impression of seeing her. Many years had passed. Ebenezer watched as Belle’s husband said goodbye to her with a kiss. Ebenezer knew they had been talking about him, because the Spirit of Christmas Present had shown him. When Belle’s husband left, Ebenezer began to walk with trembling steps to where Belle was. Arriving in front of her, his heart was beating very fast and no matter how cold the environment, his hands began to sweat, he looked like a youngster who, after having done something wrong, did not know how to begin to apologize for the mistakes made.

Ebenezer felt his body fill with heat as he was strengthened by the Spirit of Eternal Christmas and in a gentle voice he said, “Belle, you look as beautiful as you were, the dire day when I lost you because of my greed.”

Belle was sitting facing the lake and hearing the voice of Ebenezer behind her, she felt her body become cold as snow. Belle turned her head and when she saw Ebenezer she couldn’t help crying. Belle had loved him and suffered intensely for his cause, when Ebenezer chose to increase his fortune and not fulfill the promise of marriage he had given to her. Belle’s lips trembled, her heart stirred, her face losing the expression of joy that seconds before she showed her children. With a trembling voice she said, “Ebenezer we have lived all our life in this town and since I freed you from your promise of marriage, you disappeared from my life. However, for many years I waited for you to come back to me. I was hoping that our love was greater than your ambition, but you never looked for me and let my love for you die.”

Ebenezer ducked his head, for a few seconds, letting the tears run down his cheeks, then using his scarf he dried his eyes, lifted his head, walked towards Belle; looking at her head, he asked her for forgiveness, “You were always the woman of my life. But I behaved very cowardly, when I sat watching you leave. I was blinded by the ambition for money and became its slave. I am here to apologize for all the emotional damage I caused to your heart and for all the tears that your eyes shed because of me.”

Belle took off her gloves and held Ebenezer’s hands, “I don’t hold a grudge, I suffered a lot, but eventually I fell in love again and formed a beautiful family. With time, I began to realize the loneliness in which you lived, without family or friends …”

Ebenezer interrupted Belle’s words and begged, “Please, say nothing more. I do not want your compassion. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me either.  I’m here looking for your forgiveness and your friendship, not your pity.”

Ebenezer’s plea touched Belle’s tender heart and without thinking, she hugged him, “I forgive you Ebenezer. I forgive you because for many years I could not even pronounce your name, but now when I see you again, I have freed myself from the past and I can honestly say that I accept your friendship. ”

Ebenezer’s heart began to beat again at his normal rhythm and his face shone with the joy of hearing Belle’s words. Then both said goodbye and wished each other a Merry Christmas. Ebenezer felt that the weight on his shoulders had diminished, since having been forgiven by Belle, his emotional conflict that had remained for years, mortifying his spiritual peace, had been resolved. After walking a little, Ebenezer looked back to say goodbye again silently with his gaze of the smiling Belle who had returned to skate with her children on the frozen lake, then Ebenezer smiled and continued walking towards the house of his employee Bob.

TO BE CONTINUE…

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