"After they had heard the king,
went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of
them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw
the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the
child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then
they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of
incense and of myrrh." Father smiled at the children gathered
around him and then up at his own son.
Vincent returned the smile and then waved good bye.
Father nodded and turned his gaze back to the Bible and continued the
Vincent made his way through the Tunnels that led to the Central Park
exit. He could sense that Catherine was not yet ready to leave
Joe's party. If she took much longer they had agreed that Vincent
would go on to Willowveil and wait for her there. However, right
now he just wanted to walk.
Vincent loved Christmastime. It was a time of hope
and love, family and friends. It was a time for children.
It was this that sent a
pang of regret and grief through his heart just then.
As he watched
the parents Below fill stockings and hide toys and hastily eat cookies
left for Santa, he couldn't help but think that such a life should have
been his and Catherine's.
Tears blurred his vision as Vincent stared up at a bright star in the
sky. Father's voice echoed in his mind: "And the star they had
seen in the east went ahead of them until it
stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star,
they were overjoyed."
Vincent bowed his head and said a silent prayer for peace. Tears
still falling, he also sent his love to the child he had not gotten the
chance to know. When the man looked back up, the star he had been
admiring seemed to have grown
brighter. He had a sudden desire to follow it. Careful to
stick to shadowy places, Vincent ran. He didn't even fully
realize where he was going but kept on running. When he finally
felt that he ought to stop, he noted with amazement that he was
standing behind St. Vincent's Hospital. It was there he had been
found, wrapped in rags, and abandoned in the wintry cold.
Vincent pulled his hood more securely around his face as he heard
approaching footsteps. He realized then that in his haste, he
hadn't noticed the bond with in him that told him Catherine was
near. He turned around, unsurprised but happy to see her standing
behind him. He drew her into his embrace.
"What are you doing here? I thought you would stay longer at
Catherine laughed nervously. "You'll think you've married a crazy
woman if I tell you."
"I have married the woman I love and crazy or not, I will never regret
Catherine stole a quick kiss and then began to tell her story.
"It was so bizarre. I was at the party and I glanced out the
window and saw this star. It was so bright and I thought
instantly of the Wisemen and the star. Suddenly I had this
wish... a need really... to follow it. So I excused myself and I
did. And I ended up here. Why are you here?"
Vincent chuckled. "The very same reason. I saw the star and
I ran after it. It would seem we are both crazy."
"Not crazy. Blessed," a voice responded.
The couple turned around and found themselves staring at Monica.
She was dressed in a flowy white dress and smiled at them as golden
light surrounded her. "Whether you realized it or not, you both
came here tonight searching for something: a healing of your
past. God wept with you when you lost your child and He holds
that child in His love each day and He will forever."
Catherine began to weep and Vincent held her. Monica rested a
hand on his shoulder and continued. "You have both touched the
lives of countless children. You have healed them, loved them,
cared for them. There is yet another child who needs you.
He needs the love and care of devoted parents, just as another baby boy
found here over fifty years ago needed the same."
Vincent bowed his head and thought of Father caring for him
through his own infancy but then he focused on Monica's words.
Could she be saying what he thought she was? His heart leapt and
he could do nothing to quiet it. The bond told him that
Catherine, too, was filled with hope and anticipation.
There was a shuffling sound and Vincent and Catherine saw some of the
boxes near the trash bin move. A figure stood up and walked
towards them. As she stepped into Monica's light, the figure
began to glow also. The couple
recognized her as Tess and saw she was holding something.
"I've been holding this little one since he was left here. But
now I think he wants his parents." Tess smiled at the
couple. "Now, he's going to need some special care but the Father
thought you would be just the right couple for the task."
Catherine could not speak, she only held out her arms and wept happily
as the angel passed the child to her. Vincent peered over her
shoulder at the little bundle. The infant had a cleft lip but to
Catherine and Vincent he was utterly beautiful and perfect.
"Th-thank you," were the only words that Vincent could manage. He
didn't even look at the angels as he spoke them. He was entranced
by the baby in his wife's arms.
"The Father is very pleased with you both and He loves you and this
little one, as well. Go home now and celebrate Christmas with
your son," Tess instructed.
"Merry Christmas!" Monica chimed.
"Our son..." Vincent murmured.
The two angels watched, arms around each others' shoulders, as the
little family returned to their home.
At last the Willowveil Christmas
fully decorated, at least nearly so. Catherine's and Vincent's
awaited them but otherwise the tree held a symbol of every person in
the room. They all smiled as they
admired the symbol of their
togetherness. It was an idyllic moment and JenniAnn was annoyed
when a ringing phone interrupted it just as Adam was about to start up
a round of "O Christmas Tree." Nonetheless, she rushed to answer
it, momentarily blushing at the memory of she and Eliot's previous
experience with that phone.
"Hello, this is JenniAnn. Yes. What's wrong?!? Tell
me!" she cried.
Everyone hurried over.
"You're absolutely sure? Vincent and Catherine are alright,
"Oh..." Yva began to fret.
"Well just tell me so we can be prepared! Mouse!"
Exasperated, she hung up the phone and faced the group. "Mouse
says we need to get Below and to Vincent's and Catherine's chamber
immediately. But he won't say why. Only that every thing's
very okay and very, very fine."
"Uh oh. I wonder what he's done to their chamber..." Eliot
grimaced and then hurried to the pantry door which hid the portal to
"We're all supposed to come?" Rose checked.
"Yes, let's just hurry!" JenniAnn urged.
"Fear not!" Henry encouraged.
"I'm trying!" Lady Beth answered.
In a few moments everyone was through and dashing through tunnels,
sometimes in single file through narrow ones. It seemed to take
forever to reach the main hub and then the Wellses' chamber.
Father stood outside the door wearing a grin that could only be called
goofy. He ushered them all inside.
A hush fell over them all as they spotted the happy couple.
Catherine was seated in a chair with Vincent standing behind her.
The group listened to a soft cooing noise that urged them nearer.
Vincent looked up then and smiled at them. He held his hand
out. "Please, come meet Jacob Chandler Wells."
There were many more tears of joy as the group drew closer and beheld
the baby. Catherine and Vincent took turns telling the story of
the star and the angels and Jacob. Father explained that despite
his cleft lip, Jacob was otherwise perfectly healthy and seemed to have
suffered no ill effects from being outside. This fact was
gratefully attributed to God and His angel, Tess, by a blissful
Eventually Catherine surrendered the infant and he was held and greeted
by each person in the room before being returned to his parents.
Though Catherine and Vincent knew there was a long and difficult road
ahead of them, neither could deny that this small child was the
greatest Christmas gift they had ever received.
The Dyelanders returned to
sensing that the new family needed some time to themselves.
Everyone watched fondly as Yva hung Vincent's ornament and JenniAnn
hung Catherine's. The two roses were placed together, side by
side. Eliot then approached with something he had quickly but
lovingly carved. It was a tiny rosebud and this he hung near the
two larger roses.
"This has truly been a wondrous Christmas," Nigel enthused after the
last ornament was hung.
Adam nodded. "A hurt and grieving man found the joy of the
Christmas season again."
"A lot of mice found a new home... outside, thankfully!" Rose added
with a giggle.
"God kept His promises," was Nigel's solemn addition.
Andrew cast a hopeful glance at JenniAnn and Eliot. "The right
words were spoken to the right person."
"The food was amazing!" Yva bestowed an appreciative smile on both Lady
Beth and Willy.
"As was the fudge," Lady Beth added and returned the smile.
"Good friends were reunited," Tess chimed in as she and Monica appeared
in the room and began hugging those assembled there.
JenniAnn tenderly touched the newly carved rosebud. "A child who
needed love and a home found both."
"And two people who so dearly wanted to be parents became
parents." Eliot's happiness for his mentor and Catherine could
hardly be concealed.
"And Christmas Day isn't even here yet," Henry pointed out.
"I'm sure it will be wonderful." Willy beamed at the faces around
him. "I'm so glad I could be here."
"I'm so glad we could all be here... together." Monica looked at
Tess pleadingly then. "Tess, could we have a song?"
"I think we should have a sing along," Adam suggested and was met with
Drinks and treats were passed around and then the group, each member
smiling from ear-to-ear, began to sing Christmas carols.
As the singing continued, Andrew grew quiet and surveyed the faces of
those around them. Each was smiling, some with their arms around
each others' shoulders. The couples were holding hands.
Tess even patted Adam's shoulder as he played the piano, something that
Andrew knew meant a great deal to his fellow angel of death.
Andrew had a sudden flash, too, of Thomas Appleton animatedly talking
to some customers as he sat in their parlor. They laughed and
cried as they exchanged stories of his wife. Andrew saw Vincent
and Catherine, too, tucking their child into the cradle that had once
been his father's. Once again Christmas had come and begun to
heal the wounds of the past. In so doing, it shown a light of
hope into the future and a light of love that surrounded those in the
ballroom and all those dear to them. With a smile and tears of
happiness, Andrew rejoined the song.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth efface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy.