Adeste Fideles

When the words of the song sang out in his head, when he made the blasphemous comparison without really meaning to, he wondered if it was the child that would go to hell or if it would be he himself. He had traveled through three states to get there—assuming that you counted that sliver of coastline that was technically New Hampshire, but in any sane world would have belonged to either Massachusetts or Maine—and he hated to think he had brought the devil with him out of the snowy forest, but the truth was that might be just what he had done.

The hospital room was quiet and dark as he held his grandson and hummed the tune. It was not entirely insane to have thought of the song on this day and in this situation. After all, it was on this day—or so we were supposed to believe—that the child for whom the song had been written had been born. And what grandfather, he thought, could look down at the drowsy wrinkled face of his grandchild and not think it the most joyful and triumphant thing of beauty he had ever seen?

Neither of them would burn, he decided, for his God was the God of all children, and He would not mind—would not punish—for such a slight. If singing a song about one beautiful baby to another was even a slight at all.

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