There are some who say a good story needs no introduction, and they would be correct. But given all that is happened since this moment in time, and given all that will happen in the future, it seems imperative that we take a moment to remind ourselves of happier times.
This story takes place in the past when our young hero is still just beginning to discover who and WHAT he is. It takes place in those golden times before Kurt could teleport so he does not yet know that his father is the archangel Azazel. It happens before Wolfgang's arrival meaning that not only does Kurt know fewer dirty jokes, but Circus Gehlhaar is still Circus Gehlhaar. James Brown (the composer, not the Soul Singer) has yet to join them from America so the music isn't as quite as good. Even though he is nine years old, and already quite tall, he has yet to shed the moniker of "Little Kurt" because "Big Kurt", the Strongman has yet to leave. It was a time before many changes that were to take place in Kurt's life happened.
But Kurt's life was not free of change of course. Even at such a young age he is a regular performer with Circus Gehlhaar's Swedish Trapeze Troupe "Lycka på Himmelen". And though Kurt had met Father Hans Dietrich the year before and been baptized in his church, he still struggles to understand the meaning of the priest's lessons as they arrive via regular post cards from Hamburg. Safe so far from it's fiery demise at the bottom of the Pyranees, his family still lives in Margali's converted delivery van, with its three wooden bunks for him, his sister Amanda, and his brother Stephani. The bottom bunk has spent the last few months empty however, as Stephani has begun his first year away at school in France.
O Come O Come, Emmanuel
Their caravan had never been so decorated. They couldn't string colored light bulbs up but Kurt had trudged deep into the forest to pick up evergreen branches, which were now nailed up over his and Amanda's bunks. Amanda hadn't been very enthusiastic about Kurt's Christmas transformation of their home at first, but the smell of the fresh pine boughs was intoxicating and she soon was his willing assistant, nailing as much of the pine around their bunks as they could.
Once out of wood parts in the van to nail things to, Kurt spent an hour fashioning the remainder into a wreath. Margali helped him find a way to affix the four candles that had come in the box Father Dietrich had left with them at the end of the summer. It had been inscribed with the words, " Öffnen Sie das vor dem Advent nicht " Kurt had wanted to open it right away of course but she had insisted Kurt follow the Priest's instructions.
"They're girly colors," Amanda teased when Kurt was finished and sat, perched on the edge of their table to admire his work.
"They're Advent colors," Kurt reposted, though he secretly agreed that Advent colors were a little bit girly. He dropped the subject quickly though as he removed the three small nativity figurines from the box, lest Amanda begin accusing him of playing with dolls.
They would have discussed it further, but Margali arrived with an armful of votives in tiny holders. She spread them amongst the pine, resting them carefully on the thickest parts of the branches. When she was done, and all the candles were lit, the three of the lay back on the floor to admire the twinkling lights that blinked through the branches like stars through a forest giving the space a soft glow that was both everywhere and nowhere at once.
"Wait until Stephani sees this," Amanda said.
"Mmmm." Margali said. The smell of pine and earth, the glow of so many candles reminded her strangely of her mother who could hardly be called Christian at all.
Kurt looked up at where he'd set the tiny figures of Mary and Joseph, their crèche still empty. Margali had set a piece of multicolored paper up as a backdrop and then put candles behind it. Now as the flames provided the only illumination, it appeared to him that Mary and Joseph had flickering multicolored halos.
"I think I like Christmas," he said, curling up in the crook of Margali's arm like he used to do when he was small.
"I think I like it too." Margali said giving him a peck on the cheek.
And then they were silent, secretly wishing that they too had opened Father Dietrich's Advent box earlier so they wouldn't have had to wait all year.
This is really short, but it was great to write Kurt as a little kid again. The challenge issued was to write a story about Kurt celebrating Christmas with his canon family and I decided that I wanted to have him doing something that was distinctly Catholic and therefore chose to write not about Christmas, but Advent, the time of preparation. The original plan had been to write a longer story in which the family does travel to Hamburg to visit Father Dietrich but I ran out of time. So my entry was short, but hopefully sweet.