Yeshua wandered a grove of trees near where his followers were
camped out for the night. He smiled as he glanced towards
their sleeping forms. The following day would be his
thirty third birthday and they'd been quite secretive
lately. He suspected they'd planned a surprise for him...
maybe a visit from his Ama? He'd find out in a few hours'
Yeshua knelt beneath a tree to talk to his Abba. He
thanked Him for the receptiveness of the previous day's crowds,
for the miracle of a 48 hour stretch during which Yaqob and
Yohannan had refrained from bickering, and for all the healings
he'd been able to work.
And then Yeshua heard a voice...
"Remember... He's not going to remember you. I
mean... I think he does on a certain level. But
don't quiz him about the past. About Heaven."
"Well, I hardly expect that he'd remember me, anyway."
"Why would you say that? Of course he'd remember you under
normal circumstances. But not during this little...
misadventure of his."
"Oh, now, I wouldn't call it that, Crawly! It's part of
the divine plan!"
Yeshua smiled. He recognized the voice and knew what it
"Oh and don't... fall on your knees and go all... 'Hosanna,
Hosanna!' I don't think he'll be in the mood for that."
"Not in the mood for worship? He's the Almighty!"
"Yeah... right... but... it's just different now, okay?
Just... be... normal."
"As you wish! No kneeling, no singing... perfectly
normal. He's just a man... who is also the Almighty!"
Yeshua laughed when he heard the other entity groan. He
looked in the direction of the voices and, by the moonlight, saw
the two figures. One was clad all in white, matching wings
on his back. His hair had hardly any more color to
it. Beside him strode a man... seemingly... robed all in
black with ebony wings. Shockingly red hair fell past his
They were, of course, an angel and a demon... so called.
Beaming, Yeshua raised a hand.
"Shalom, Yeshua," the demon replied.
"You have brought a friend." Yeshua smiled kindly at the
nervous, twitching angel who was gazing at him with starry eyes.
"Right. Yep. Aziraphale. Angel of the Eastern
Gate," Crawly introduced.
Aziraphale giggled as he shook Yeshua's hand.
"So pleased to meet you! You look... ah, very well," he
complimented though his tone implied some doubt.
With a laugh, Yeshua shrugged.
"I try. It's a pleasure to meet you, as well,
Aziraphale. And Crawly... always a delight to see you."
"Is not. Here to tempt you," Crawly countered, golden eyes
flaring, making their serpentine nature even more obvious.
"Right..." Yeshua smirked.
"Yeah, well, off we go to see the wonders of the world.
All this could be yours if blah, blah, blah." Crawly
sighed and held out his hand to the carpenter.
"Crawly! Such a tone! With... him!" Aziraphale
exclaimed, his cheeks burning.
Laughing again, Yeshua patted the angel on the shoulder.
"Have no fear. Crawly and I are old friends. I take
no offense. Thank you for thinking of a birthday trip,
The demon bowed his head as Yeshua beamed at him.
"Err... whatever. Off we go."
Yeshua took the demon's hand and, suddenly, the trio appeared at
the edge of a forest. A wineskin and three cups had
appeared beside them.
The angel frowned.
"No food? Honestly, Crawly..."
A tray materialized filled with cheese, bread, and fruit.
Aziraphale clapped his hands.
Yeshua and Crawly exchanged amused looks as the angel went for
the food. The former was touched when Aziraphale
handed him the first slice of bread and cheese and a handful of
grapes and berries.
"Thank you, Aziraphale."
Yeshua took a bite then directed his attention to the demon.
"So what are you tempting me with?" he teased. "The beauty
alone? Because it is extraordinary."
Crawly only shrugged.
Suddenly, a cry erupted from a nearby dwelling.
"That poor woman! Should we see if she needs help?"
"We wouldn't be wanted," Crawly replied. "She'll be
fine. Miracle of birth and all that."
Yeshua's features softened as other figures appeared, gathering
around the home where the cries were originating. Their
skin tone was much like his own. Their hair, though, was
worn much longer than his people tended to wear theirs.
They were beautiful and his heart swelled with love for them.
"Where are we?" he asked.
"Lenapehoking," Crawly replied.
"Lenapehoking," Yeshua echoed with fondness.
Crawly pointed to a tall figure.
"That's the father-to-be. See that miniature bow and arrow
pinned to his chest?"
Aziraphale and Yeshua nodded.
"It means he's dreamed the child will be a boy. Since the
dream, he's worn that to keep the child's spirit near to him."
"Beautiful," Yeshua murmured.
"And if the child were to be a girl?" Aziraphale asked with
"He'd have worn a small pestle and mortar for the same reason."
The three were silent for a few moments: Yeshua praying for the
mother and child, Aziraphale gazing at Yeshua with ill-concealed
awe and love, and Crawly... peering up at the stars and blinking
rapidly. Aziraphale had lied earlier. Yeshua did not
look well. He looked haggard.
"So... how's it been going?" Crawly asked.
Yeshua tore his gaze away from the villagers and smiled.
"Well. Yesterday I preached for six hours... they seemed
receptive... and then I healed fourteen epileptics, three people
born blind, a deaf man, and two paralytics."
Crawly smiled. Maybe that was the only reason the
carpenter-turned-holy-man looked so wearied.
"Not bad for a single holy man," he jested.
"Holy man... You know, that title causes me some
Crawly was intrigued. Yeshua was a man and he was
holy. If ever the title was fitting...
"When I come into a new place, some of the people I would most
like to see are hesitant to come to me. They hear that a
holy man has arrived and they seem to think I am too holy to
want to be in their presence. They're afraid I'll judge
them. Sometimes, labels and titles do not serve us
well. I am not a holy man in the sense they mean...
pompous, judgmental, valuing ritual above people. And..."
Crawly stared down at his arm where Yeshua's hand was resting.
"I am not at all convinced that you are a demon in the usual
sense, Crawly. Your... boss... took me on a trip
once. He asked for worship. You ask for
nothing. Interesting, yes?"
Crawly flinched and pulled his arm away. Before he could
make a reply, a shrill cry resounded.
"The baby!" Aziraphale called out.
Yeshua smiled at Crawly then turned his gaze back to the
villagers. After a few moments, the father of the child
appeared with the baby in his arms. The friends and
neighbors cheered and an old woman began to sing a
Yeshua's eyes filled. He was reminded of his Ama... and
his Abi. His heart swelled with love for the people before
him... and the angel and demon on either side of him.
The three visitors watched silently for several minutes as the
baby was welcomed. Then, with another cry, the child was
brought inside to nurse. After that, the group began to
"Why did you bring me here?" Yeshua asked Crawly.
The demon shrugged.
"'S nice, isn't it? Maybe you could, I dunno, just... stay
here. I think they'd like you."
Yeshua let out a shaky breath. He knew the demon wasn't
trying to tempt him... He was trying to get him to walk
away from his ministry, from his mission... but for his own
reasons. He smiled gently at Crawly.
"And I know I would like them. But this isn't where I am
meant to be. You know that, my own."
Crawly stumbled backwards at the sound of the last two
words. He shook his head.
"No... I'm not..."
Yeshua only stared at him, his gaze tender.
Aziraphale looked back and forth between the two. He
didn't know what to say... He felt so much love...
But it seemed that same love was wounding his friend. And
he needed that to stop.
"Well, then!" he exclaimed. "This was a lovely time!
Thank you, Crawly, for inviting me. Yeshua, it was a
delight to see you. The happiest of birthdays to you!"
Yeshua turned to the angel and smiled before taking one of his
hands in his.
"Thank you, Aziraphale. The delight was mine."
"Crawly, would you be so kind as to bring us back?" Aziraphale
requested. "There's a scribe I'm meant to see just after
Relieved, the demon nodded.
"Yeah. Right. I've got business, too."
He held his hand out towards Yeshua.
Yeshua chose not to draw attention to the fact that the demon's
hand was shaking. He took it in both of his.
Instantly, they were back beneath the tree where Yeshua had been
"Thank you, Crawly, for the trip. It was just what I
need... beautiful." Yeshua beamed.
Crawly gave him a shy smile.
"You're welcome, Yeshua. Happy birthday."
"Thank you. As always, it was good to see you,
Crawly. Truly," Yeshua averred.
Crawly only nodded.
"C'mon, Aziraphale, I'll walk you to wherever you're going," he
"Wonderful!" Giddy, Aziraphale hugged Yeshua who smiled at
him. "Perhaps we can do this again for your next
Crawly and Yeshua exchanged a look. For the demon, it was
the final clue he needed to confirm that Aziraphale had lost
track of time. He didn't realize this was Yeshua's last
Yeshua recovered quickly and patted the angel on the back.
"I am sure we'll have another happy occasion... soon," he
Aziraphale could only giggle and nod in response.
Yeshua smiled once more at Crawly.
"Perhaps I'll see you around soon... in one form or another?" he
asked with a playful gleam in his eyes.
Crawly was heartened by the man's demeanor and returned his
With a final wave, the two disappeared.
Yeshua stared at the spot where they had been, feeling both love
He had come to save the lost sheep... and he was beginning to
suspect that didn't just mean humans.
December 23, 2020
Joshua's eyes misted as he thought back to Lenapehoking... to
Aziraphale and Crawly... Crowley, really. They hadn't been
too far from where he now stood, stocking freshly sanitized PPE.
Joshua turned towards the stern voice. Inwardly, he
smiled. Ever since he'd showed up at the hospital to join
the ranks of PPE extenders, Janice had made it very clear to him
that he would answer to her if he made any mistakes. He,
of course, never made any mistakes... which seemed to flummox
"Yes, Janice?" he asked.
"I learned something very interesting about you," Janice
reported in a no-nonsense tone.
"Yes. Becca tells me that you're a Jesus impersonator."
Joshua burst out laughing.
"Well, I mean... I wouldn't put it that way. I don't
impersonate Jesus. But I've played Jesus in Jesus
Christ Superstar at a local theatre."
Janice eyed Joshua up and down then gave a nod of approval.
"Huh. I bet you do the part justice. I've had enough
of those pretty white boys playing Him. Anyway, that's
beside the point. Becca also tells me that Christmas is
Joshua replied with a simple shrug.
"Well, I think you could stand to take a couple days off.
We'll need you back here, rested and ready, when we get the
post-Christmas rush. You're the best PPE extender we've
got, Davidson. You never miss a thing." Janice's
voice softened. "And... and the way you seem to calm
everyone around you... Never seen anything like it."
"I give my all to everything I do," Joshua explained. "So
many here do. It's been an honor and..."
"Well, let's not get all mushy," Janice cut him off. "Take
some time off. Come back on the 26th. I have enough
problems without people going around saying I made Jesus work on
With a chuckle, Joshua shook his head.
"I promise I wouldn't let anyone think less of you for that."
"Good. Well then... go on," Janice directed.
"Get. Have yourself a merry Christmas/birthday."
"You too, Janice. I'll be praying for you," Joshua
promised, gently resting a hand on the woman's shoulder.
"All... all right then," a flustered Janice replied.
"See you soon. Merry Christmas, Janice!"
"You too, Davidson."
Joshua nodded then walked away, turning back once to smile and
wave before disappearing into a changing room.
As he washed up and changed, Joshua thought of the reunions to
come and his face glowed with happiness.
"And this... this is Behnam's
ornament. He's Belle's uncle. So... I guess that
makes him your... huh. I dunno." JenniAnn bowed
her head to kiss the tuft of hair atop her granddaughter's
Andrew stepped away from the table he'd been leveling and
approached the two as they stood near the Willowveil
"Things get a little confused when Max is both Belle's
brother and uncle," he pointed out. "Let's just go
JenniAnn laughed and nodded.
"There we go! He's your kinsman, Amelia. And...
and I hope some day soon you can meet him in person.
And Isra and Salma and Aiyla and Omar and Aurora..."
JenniAnn's right hand hovered over their ornaments as she
spoke their names.
Andrew stroked JenniAnn's back when her voice began to
"You're our silver lining," JenniAnn whispered to the
Andrew smiled, remembering two weeks before when little
Amelia had made her triumphant entry into the world.
With support from Portia and Max, Rose had given birth right
there in Willowveil where baby Amelia had been safely
snuggled and kissed by her grandparents within hours of her
"That you are, sweet girl," Andrew agreed. He left off
including that he was grateful to her for bringing some of
the spark back to her Gamma. The last couple of months
had been difficult for JenniAnn. While she'd done
everything she could to make the holiday season a special
one for their kids and for him, the strain was obvious to
the angel. He guessed she'd lost at least ten
pounds. And she certainly wasn't sleeping well.
Andrew kissed JenniAnn's temple then gave her hip an
"How about we settle down somewhere comfortable and I read
to you girls for a bit?" he suggested.
With a smile and nod, JenniAnn agreed and soon the trio were
settled onto a couch near the fireplace.
Andrew pulled out his phone, did a quick search, and found
what he wanted.
JenniAnn sighed with contentment as he began to recite.
"'I heard the bells on Christmas Day
familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on
earth, good-will to men!
how, as the day had come,
belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on
earth, good-will to men!'"
Andrew paused and smiled when he heard a gleeful shriek from
outside where their kids, JenniAnn's parents, Raquel, Nico,
Ivy, and Sy were playing in the freshly fallen snow.
"'Till ringing, singing on its way, the world..."
A second shriek sounded. And then a shouted name.
JenniAnn, who had been slouching against Andrew, jerked
upright. Holding Amelia securely against her chest,
she rushed to the window with Andrew at her heels.
And there he was... They saw him lift Avi into the air
then snuggle him close before embracing and greeting the
"Joshua..." JenniAnn murmured.
Andrew let out a shaky sigh of relief. He had prayed
that, somehow, Joshua would be with them, physically, that
Christmas. He didn't think JenniAnn could take another
blow. And now... his prayer had been answered.
Outside, Joshua led the group towards the castle's front
door... their sleds and snowballs forgotten.
Tears of joy slid down JenniAnn's cheeks as she waited,
clinging to Amelia.
Joshua stepped into the ballroom and approached, joy
radiating from him.
Joshua hugged Andrew tightly and JenniAnn more gently before
she handed the baby to him.
"Hello there, little one. It's so good to see you
again. You look so contented and loved." He
kissed Amelia's brow then beamed up at Andrew and
JenniAnn. "Can I stay the night?" he requested.
JenniAnn burst out laughing as she returned Joshua's hug.
"Of course you can!"
She kissed his cheek.
"I'm so happy..."
Joshua squeezed her hand.
"Me, too, little bird. Me too. Now... Dad
mentioned something to me about Christmas cookies decorated
with Froot Loops..."
"We made those last night. I think we could all do
with a cookies and milk/cocoa break. Max, Violeta,
wanna help me get stuff together?" he requested.
"Yes!" the two shouted in unison.
As the three left, Joshua was escorted to his favorite
chair, Amelia still in his arms, and everyone else crowded
"Rose, how have you been feeling?" he asked.
Smiling dreamily, Rose snuggled Landon close.
"Really good. Even better now."
"I'm so glad to hear it! Belle, what have you been up
"We talked to Santa on the computer!" Belle reported.
"And Mrs. Claus, too."
Joshua smiled as he thought of the inventive ways Adam and
Kylie had ensured their tradition continued.
"That's great! Did you tell them what you want for
Belle nodded and beamed.
"Uh huh. And I already got it."
Belle sat down near Joshua's chair and hugged his leg.
Joshua's eyes misted as he understood what her Christmas
wish had been.
"Baby..." JenniAnn murmured as the others brushed at their
eyes... knowing they had all shared in Belle's Christmas
Joshua patted Belle's hair.
"I'm so glad I'm here. And I love you, little
elf." He smiled at everyone. "I love you
all. So much."
As the group echoed back their "I love yous," Andrew, Max,
and Violeta returned with the cookies and beverages and the
party truly began.
While everyone else in Willowveil and
the surrounding areas almost immediately descended upon
the ballroom to greet their heavenly guest, two people
in the attic were blissfully unaware of his
arrival. Their cell phones were muted and they
were too far away from the action to overhear their
excited, joyful friends.
And Joshua was content to let them be for a while yet.
Takoda lounged in his bed, watching a tablet that was
playing Love Actually.
Joccy rested beside him, occasionally smiling dreamily
as Takoda's hands brushed through her hair.
"I dunno... Not sure I'm comfortable with this
prime minister plot line," Takoda mused. "Seems
like a boundary violation or something."
"Not when it's reciprocated," Joccy countered. "I
mean, like, compare him to the U.S. president.
That was gross. Because that attention and
touching was unwanted. But Natalie likes David a
lot. I mean I definitely think it's something to
be careful about... but I also think it's possible for
one person to maybe have a powerful position but the
other person have an equally or even more powerful
personality. So it seems weird to be like
'No! You can't have him because he's more powerful
than you.' Pretty elitist, actually. Taken
to the extreme, that just means power would be held more
tightly by a smaller and smaller circle of people.
I mean if David could only date world leaders, how much
chance is there of him ever really having to brush up
against the working class? How much chance of them
ever being able to speak their minds to him?
Natalie seems to be strong enough of a person to cut
ties if she liked."
Takoda paused the video, now much more interested in
Joccy's thoughts than the plot.
"I think it's really, really important to stand up for
and protect women who are harassed in the
workplace. But... I also think we need to be
careful to not over-correct and infantilize individual
women who are doing just fine. I mean... there are
probably some who would say that we're dysfunctional
just based on the very nature of who we are.
Andrew and JenniAnn, too. And possibly even Arthur
and Monica although I think they'd be perceived
differently by some just based on their genders.
Which is a weird side issue. But that's only
because a lot of people are all 'Angels are so powerful
and holy and you could never say no to them!'
Which is bull."
Joccy smiled at him then cupped his chin.
"Although you are hard to say no to... but that's not
because you're an angel. It's just because you're
so darn cute."
"Mmm... I can relate." The angel beamed as
Joccy kissed his forehead. "You still manage,
though... hence us watching this instead of Die Hard."
"Die Hard is not a Christmas movie and will never
be a Christmas movie. This is definitely the
better Alan Rickman Christmas movie... even if he is a
jerk in it."
"Okay, but you just said 'the better Alan Rickman
Christmas movie' thus implying Die Hard is, in
fact, a Christmas movie."
Joccy gave an exasperated sigh but continued to
"Fine... You win. But we're still not
watching it... at least not til after Christmas."
"All right... So back to the PM and..."
A polite knock sounded on the door.
Joccy slid off the bed and settled into a chair.
Andrew and JenniAnn had been exceedingly open-minded
about letting her spend time with Takoda and had only
asked that they be reasonably discrete. Joccy
suspected they were already envisioning the day when
Belle would have suitors who they wouldn't necessarily
want bunking at Willowveil.
But it was definitely not Belle at the door...
"Whatever you're doing, I would suggest that your time
is better spent in the ballroom," a stern but not unkind
Takoda threw open the door and studied Marty.
"We were just watching a movie. What's going on?"
"Ballroom," Marty repeated without further
explanation. His eyes were alight with amusement.
Takoda turned back to Joccy who was slipping on her
shoes. When she was finished, he held a hand out
to her and the two followed the scribe.
Joccy halted once they crossed the threshold into the
Takoda squeezed her hand then brought it to his lips.
"Joshua..." the young woman murmured.
Joshua looked up and smiled at the newcomers. He
whispered to Avi and Evie who were seated in his lap,
gently placed the duo on the floor, and then rose and
approached Takoda and Joccy. He drew them into his
"It's so good to see you both." Joshua pulled away
enough for them to see his beaming face. "You look
wonderful. Your new... understanding... suits
Joccy and Takoda exchanged blushing smiles.
"I'm so glad you came!" Joccy gushed. "I wasn't
sure you would this year given... well, we can't all be
Joshua's gaze softened.
"I know that's been so hard for everyone. And... I
won't be staying for as long as I do usually...
physically... But I wanted to be here today. And
as for the others... They won't be left
With twinkling eyes, Joshua gazed over at the Christmas
tree... and to one ornament in particular: an artist's
He had forgotten the cinnamon.
And because he'd forgotten the cinnamon, Owen
was having a meltdown.
He had stayed strong when it had become obvious
that he'd be spending Thanksgiving alone in
Catherine's apartment, fretting about his
husband spending so much time on the COVID ward
of his hospital.
Owen had even stayed strong when he realized
Christmas would be another lonely affair.
No visit with his grandma. No cookie
baking with his extended family. No visit
to Willowveil. No caroling in the Tunnels.
And he was still worried about Graham.
And all the stress had killed his
creativity. He hadn't painted in weeks.
All he'd wanted to do was bake cookies...
including Graham's favorite: snickerdoodles.
And now he couldn't and, because of that, Owen
wept and screamed. He further vented his
frustrations by pounding a rolling pin against
the Oreos he was crushing.
Then Owen felt someone squeeze his shoulder.
Alarmed, the man spun around. His eyes
went wide and then, rolling pin thudding to the
floor, he collapsed against the "intruder."
"It's okay... I've got you. It's
okay, Owen," Joshua soothed as he held Owen
Gently, Joshua escorted Owen to a nearby couch
where he continued to embrace him as he wept.
After a few minutes, Owen calmed and even began
to feel peaceful. He pulled away from
Joshua just enough to meet his gaze.
"Sorry... I just..."
Joshua shook his head.
"You have no reason to apologize. It's
been... a lot. To be honest, I'm glad
you're finally letting some of that pain and
frustration out. It's not good for you to
hold it all in."
"I... I know... It's just... Graham
already has so much to deal with that I didn't
want to put any more on him. And then, God
bless em, someone's always calling or asking me
to hop on Zoom... They want to check up on
me. And I don't want to worry them any
"They want to share in your burdens and support
you, Owen. Graham especially. Let
"Yeah... I guess."
"You guess?" Joshua teased. "I'm
all-knowing. I'm obviously right."
"But I know how hard it is. I
remember... But I also know no one would
be shocked if they caught you at a bad
time. With the exception of Graham, who's
gone so often, you've been isolated for three
fourths of a year. It would be worrisome
if you didn't sometimes struggle."
"Right..." Owen sighed and took one of
Joshua's hands in his. "You're really
here, right? This isn't some sort of
Joshua's smile grew even more tender.
"I'm here. In fact, I can prove it."
He reached into a pocket of his hoodie.
Owen laughed when Joshua withdrew a jar of
"So here's what's going to happen... We're
going to bake cookies until Graham comes
home. Then we'll enjoy said cookies.
Maybe watch a Christmas movie or two.
Stand on the balcony and carol. Get some
sleep. And tomorrow morning, before I head
out, I'm making you both breakfast," Joshua
relayed. "That's plenty of evidence,
"Right... yeah. But... You... you're
staying the night?"
"I mean not to be presumptuous... But I
thought I would. If you'd rather I
not..." Joshua feigned disappointment.
Laughing, Owen hugged him.
"Of course! I just... If you showed up at
all this year, I figured you'd go to Willowveil
or maybe the Tunnels where the most people could
"Don't worry about the others. They won't
be left out."
Owen thought about asking for explanation but
decided it wasn't necessary.
"Now... Snickerdoodles," Joshua reminded.
"Snickerdoodles!" Owen repeated with excitement.
The two returned to the kitchen where they spent
the next several hours catching up, joking, and
creating an array of cookies... more than enough
for Graham to take to work the following day.
"He just walked into the building!" Owen
exclaimed after checking his phone.
"Okay! I'll go hide!" Joshua moved
to the guest bedroom, pulling the doors closed
A couple minutes later, a weary Graham entered
"Hey, hon!" Owen greeted. "How was your
"Exhausting as always. But one of my
patients got off their vent so... that was good
news. Talk more after I shower?"
"You bet. I'm just going to be in the
kitchen with a surprise."
Graham sniffed the air appreciatively.
"You baked cookies?"
Owen only nodded and smiled, afraid to say any
"I can't wait to have some. Skipped lunch
today. Be right back!"
"Enjoy your shower!"
As soon as Graham was in the bathroom, Joshua
hurried to the kitchen where he picked up a
newspaper and positioned himself so his face
wouldn't be visible when the doctor returned.
"He's going to freak out!" Owen whispered,
nearly shaking with anticipation.
Joshua chuckled, also excited for his big
When Graham did return, Owen greeted him with a
platter of cookies.
"We made snickerdoodles just for you!" he
"We..." Graham's gaze drifted to the
mystery figure. "But who..."
Before Graham could worry that Owen had broken
their bubble, Joshua dropped the newspaper.
Joshua moved to his feet and hugged the stunned
"I just wanted to stop by and spend a little
time with you and Owen... to tell you both how
proud I am of you. You've been so selfless
with your patients, Graham. And that's not
gone unnoticed. It's never
unnoticed." Joshua held an arm out so Owen
could move into their embrace. "And, Owen,
it means a lot to me... and I know it means a
lot to Graham... that you've put your own life
on hold so you could be with him, support him,
love him during this harrowing time. Thank
Graham wept into Joshua's shoulder.
"I... I'm so glad you're here. It... it's been
so hard, Josh."
Joshua patted his back.
"I know... And I'm so sorry you're having
to experience that... day after day. But
know that I'm with you... always."
"Knowing that and knowing Owen is waiting for me
here... it's keeping me sane." Graham gave
a tearful smile to his husband and Joshua.
"I'm so glad. And now... now we have to
get some food into you."
Joshua waved the couple to the table then plated
some cookies and poured glasses of milk before
taking a seat himself.
Graham took a bite of snickerdoodle and sighed
with happiness. He beamed at Owen and
"This... is perfect."
"I'm glad you think so. And we have a
whole evening planned!" Joshua gushed before
filling Graham in on the fun and relaxation that
was yet to come.
Once everyone at Willowveil had settled
back down, content in the knowledge that they'd all have
time with Joshua, the ballroom began to empty out.
Eventually, Joshua caught back up with Andrew in his
"I wanted to see the big Christmas surprise," Joshua
explained as the angel of death ushered him in.
"For JenniAnn?" Andrew checked.
Andrew smiled then pulled a tarp off of a large item.
"Oh, Andrew... It's beautiful. She's going
to absolutely love it." Joshua ran his hands over
the elaborate carvings decorating a wooden archway.
"I thought we could use it at our ceremony in
El-Chanan. And... giving it to her on this
difficult, emotional Christmas Day would be a reminder
that we have that waiting for us... that we'll be with
all our friends again some day," Andrew explained.
Joshua squeezed his shoulder.
"You will. And it really is a wonderful idea,
"Thank you. I just..." The angel dragged a
hand through his hair. "Have I...
overreacted? I thought about taking her to Omaha
to drive around and look at Christmas lights with the
kids but... I didn't end up asking. Even that made
"If JenniAnn had really wanted to, she would have asked,
Andrew. And... it's not as if there aren't
Christmas lights for her to see here. I can't
decide who better mimicked Clark Griswold this year...
your household or Fr. Mike, Sibyll, and Lewellyn,"
Andrew chuckled and nodded.
"You've been cautious and protective, Andrew... not
commanding, not overprotective. JenniAnn has
health issues that make extra precautions
necessary. She knows that. That doesn't mean
she's not upset or sad or angry sometimes. But
those feelings are never directed at you... only at the
situation. Well... and also some individuals in
positions of authority who gave some very, very bad
guidance and made very poor decisions." Joshua
sighed and shook his head. "It makes me very
unhappy that some people have decided to attach
theological significance to masks, for example.
Yes, I offer love and protection... but I never promised
that being Christian would protect anyone from
illness. Sometimes what people call faith... it's
really just stubbornness. At least in part.
Some things never change. But... you know that."
"That I do... but it helps to hear you say that.
Validating. Some of the things that run through my
head... I don't think I've felt so much anger for
such a prolonged period of time... at least not in a
long time." Andrew settled onto a bench and shook
Joshua took a seat across from his angel.
"It's righteous anger, Andrew. And you've not let
it make you lose control. That's what matters," he
assured before reaching over and squeezing Andrew's
hand. "I'm proud of you. Dad's proud of
you. The way you've cared for your assignments and
for your family... We know how hard it's been,
Andrew. And you've never once disappointed us
during this difficult season."
"Not even when I went off on Allison and Robert?"
Joshua laughed and shook his head.
"Of course not! They obviously needed that.
Things have been much better since, right?"
"And it's not as if I don't understand difficult family
members," Joshua reminded. "My cousins and I had
Andrew chuckled as he remembered.
"But things got better between us, too."
"Yeah... Speaking of your family... are your
parents and John staying Home this year?" the angel
"Mostly. I have an apartment in the city.
They'll come tomorrow evening to spend some time with
me. And... don't tell anyone but we're going to
Zoom bomb the St. G's virtual caroling party," Joshua
shared with a grin.
Andrew's face lit up.
"That's great! Everyone will love that!"
"They couldn't resist... and neither could I.
Now..." Joshua gestured to other items that were
covered with sheets, tarps, and boxes. "Can I see
what else you've been up to?"
Still smiling, Andrew nodded. He knew that Joshua
knew exactly what gifts he'd hidden way. But he
was touched that he wanted to study and admire each one
in his presence.
And so Andrew showed off a doll cradle for Belle, a set
of blocks for Avi, a new mouse house, puzzle toys for
the dogs, and many other heartfelt gifts for his beloved
family and friends.
After leaving Andrew to put the
finishing touches on his gifts, Joshua made his way to
the stable. Inside, he found Violeta and Shelby
chatting as they fed the animals.
"I dunno... I still think I like Hill House
better. I can relate to the family stuff more than
the romantic stuff," Shelby shared.
"Me too. But just the dreaminess of Bly Manor...
I think I might prefer it," Violeta countered.
"And there was that whole plot with the sisters."
Shelby scrunched her nose.
"Who were evil towards each other!"
Joshua chuckled as he stood in the doorway.
Surprised, Shelby and Violeta both turned towards him
and stared awkwardly.
"Sorry," Violeta apologized. "We should probably
be watching and discussing Christmas-y things but..."
"You're okay!" Joshua assured. "I mean... it's
right in the song. 'There'll be scary ghost
stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long,
long ago! It's the most wonderful of the year!'"
The two girls smiled in delight as he sang.
Joshua began to help them with their task, continuing to
speak as he did.
"I am glad that Andrew and JenniAnn decided to let you
two watch on your own this time around. That
plague sub-plot was definitely not something Andrew,
especially, needed to see."
"Not at all! But even without that..."
"Woulda been too much," he agreed. "And I think
it's nice for you both to have something just the two of
you share, anyway."
Shelby hugged Violeta's arm.
"It has been fun. And I love watching stuff with
Belle, too. But... it is nice to be able to talk
about grown-up things."
Violeta warmly returned the hug.
"It really is! It's made being stuck with remote
classes not quite so bad. Because I miss
discussing big things with people...
face-to-face." She frowned.
"Some day you will again," Joshua assured. "But I
know it means a lot to Andrew and JenniAnn that you
stuck with it. And Ivy and Sy, too. Even
when others went back to campus."
"I... I just could never forgive myself if I made
JenniAnn sick. I know it would have been so
unlikely but... still." Violeta shuddered.
"I don't ever, ever want to wind up in a hospital room
with her again."
"Violeta..." Shelby rubbed the angel's back when a
tear slid down her cheek.
Joshua squeezed her hand.
"Duckling, I can't promise you that'll never
happen. But what I can tell you is that, if it
does, I'll be right there, too. Holding JenniAnn
close. And all of you."
Violeta sniffled but smiled gratefully at Joshua.
"But how about we try for a lighter topic, hmm?" the
carpenter suggested. "I think Belle is going to be
thrilled with her present from the two of you."
"She's going to look so adorable in it! I just
hope it all stays together..." Shelby gave a
pensive frown as she thought of the Elsa-style crown,
wand, and tulle skirt that she and Violeta had spent
several hours working on.
"I'm sure it'll be just fine. And it'll mean so
much to her that it was homemade instead of
store-bought. You both did a beautiful job,"
Joshua praised. "And it's meant a lot to me and to
Dad to watch all three of you grow closer as sisters
during this difficult time."
Once again, Shelby and Violeta embraced each other.
"As much as I wish the pandemic hadn't happened... and
wasn't still happening... I'm glad it made me move back
here for a while," the latter shared. "It's been
so nice... staying up til all hours chatting with you,
Shel, and being around to sometimes care for Belle when
she has a nightmare or whatever... and seeing the
various 'firsts' for Avi and Landon and now lil
"Definitely," Shelby agreed. "And just... watching
Andrew and JenniAnn. I mean... not in a creepy
way. But just how they care for each other and
watch out for each other. It makes me feel... cozy
"I'm so glad. That's exactly how people should
feel on Christmas." Joshua smiled but struggled to
keep from sighing. He knew so very, very many
people did not feel that...
Shelby and Violeta saw the wave of compassion wash over
their beloved Joshua's face. They exchanged looks
then shifted closer to him, stood on either side of him,
and wrapped their arms around him.
"Girls..." Joshua murmured, the depth of his love
evident in his voice.
As Joshua wept for those who were grieving, those who
were sick, and those who were worried about keeping
their homes and putting food on the table; the two
sisters, angel and human, kept him in their embrace.
After they'd finished feeding the
pets, Shelby and Violeta returned with Joshua to the
"I'm just gonna step into the kitchen," he
explained. "Can I get you anything?"
Both girls shook their heads.
"You're okay, though, right?" Violeta checked.
Joshua smiled and hugged her.
"Yes. Better now. Sometimes a good cry
is healing. I appreciate you both being with
me... loving me."
Shelby took her turn to hug him.
"You make it awfully easy..."
"As do both of you." Joshua kissed Shelby's
hair then released her. "I'll head back to the
ballroom after I'm done. Maybe we could get
everyone together for some Spin-the-Bottle: Dyeland
Style. Christmas Carol Edition, maybe?"
"Yes!" Violeta cheered before running off with
Shelby to spread the word.
Joshua chuckled, looked after them with fondness,
and then made his way to the kitchen.
Rose was at the sink, cleaning Amelia's
bottles. When she heard movement behind her,
she turned and smiled.
"Hey, Joshua! Can I get you anything?"
Joshua shook his head and grabbed his mug.
"Cider's sounding good. But I'll get it
myself. You're busy! Can I get you
"In a little bit, we're going to play
Spin-the-Bottle with Christmas carols," Joshua
Rose lit up.
"That'll be so much fun! I've missed playing
that. Maybe I can duet with Max... It's
been a long time."
"I mean I do have some control over gravity so I
could make the bottle spin a certain way..."
"Some..." Rose repeated with a laugh.
Joshua smiled, sipped his drink, and then approached
"While we have a few moments alone, I just wanted to
tell you how proud I am of you. Going through
this pandemic is hard for everyone. But to be
pregnant on top of it..."
Joshua stepped to the other side of the sink, washed
his hands, and began to help.
"Thank you. For the help and... that. It
was... wow, so much stress... Especially when we had
to quarantine. I mean really quarantine when
there was that exposure at my OB-GYN... We'd
showered and washed our hands after getting back, of
course. But then we'd hugged JenniAnn and
snuggled with Landon..." Rose shuddered.
"I was so worried that we could have given it to one
of them. Or both of them. And then if
Max or I got sick..." She sighed.
"Well...we didn't, of course. But yeah..."
"And then giving birth here..."
"I know it's how things were for the vast majority
of human existence... But I'd just assumed I'd
give birth in a hospital again. So being
here... Even though I trust Portia
immensely..." With a laugh, Rose
shrugged. "It was fine, of course.
Really nice, actually. Now I just worry that
it'll squick Avi out some day because 'our' room is
going to be his room when he outgrows the nursery."
Joshua laughed, too.
"Avi's a chill little guy. I think he'll be a
chill older guy, too. I wouldn't worry about
"Okay then. You know him best." Rose
squeezed Joshua's arm with affection. "It was
pretty great seeing Andrew and JenniAnn meet their
first granddaughter so soon. If we'd gone to
the hospital, Amelia woulda been two weeks old by
the time she could see her Gamma. I'm actually
not sure if Andrew woulda seen her sooner knowing
JenniAnn would have to wait."
"He would have," Joshua averred. "He would
have wanted to... but also JenniAnn would have made
him so he could report every tiny, adorable detail
"True!" Rose grew quiet for a few moments and
focused on the bottles. Then, after some
thought, she spoke again. "Max is kind of
worried about Andrew. He's just been trying to
do everything for everyone. I can't remember
the last time I saw him just sitting with a book or
anything like that."
"That's my Andrew... If it makes you feel better, he
does read in bed."
"It does, actually. Thanks. But
"This isn't his first pandemic, Rose. Not even
close to the first. If he gets too still, too
quiet... he remembers. Or the things he's
seeing now... they replay in his mind. So it
helps him to focus on all of you, on what you
need. He can't give his assignments everything
they want. But he can get you chocolate chip
cookie dough ice cream and dream up romantic schemes
for JenniAnn and buy Shelby her very favorite pens,
"I wish we could do more for him... but I don't even
know what to say when he comes home after an
"JenniAnn keeps an eye on him. She gets him to
talk when he needs to. And he talks to me and
to Dad. And... you gave him a
granddaughter. Amelia and Landon... all you
kids... you help him simply by being here, Rose."
"I'm glad. It helps to be here." Rose
handed the last bottle off to Joshua who rinsed
it. "Thank you. And now... I wanna go
get my 'Jingle Bells' and 'God Rest Ye Merry
Gentlemen' and all that on."
"Same here!" Joshua laughed and offered Rose
his arm before the two made their way to the
enthusiastic crowd gathering in the ballroom.
Kylie anxiously chewed on her bottom
lip as she stared out of her front window.
Behind her, with a sleeping Maisy in his arms, Adam
also looked on with concern as Clay spoke to a
police officer and a child welfare advocate.
"Those poor kids... To have this happen right
before Christmas..." Kylie lamented.
Adam patted her back.
"It's tough... But it wouldn't have been much of a
Christmas at their own home."
"True... Who abandons their kids two days
Adam sighed. He'd seen it before.
"I'm just glad they knew Clay would help them
out." Kylie glanced over at the Christmas
tree. "One of us will need to run to the
store. I was hoping to avoid any shopping
trips when the stores are bound to be more crowded
but... they can't NOT have Christmas presents on top
of everything else!"
"We'll figure it out, Ky," Adam assured. He
closed his eyes briefly and kissed Maisy's
The two looked on as two boys stepped out of the
back seat of the advocate's car.
Clay shook their hands then helped unload their
A jostling sound from behind her caused Kylie to
turn away from the window. Adam turned, too,
when he heard her gasp.
Joshua was stooped in front of the tree, setting
some wrapped gifts around the trunk.
"Joshua!" Kylie cried out, remembering Maisy only
after she'd been awoken.
Joshua smiled and stood up, holding his arms
open. Kylie swiftly moved into them.
"Hey there, Kylie. Adam... lil Maisy..."
He looked tenderly at the two. "I was just
over at Randall's and Dot's and they agreed to let
me stay with them for the night but... I wanted to
get these presents over here before the boys come
in. The tags say they're from you and Clay,
Kylie. It would weird them out if a complete
stranger... or so they think... got them Christmas
presents. Besides, you had the intention... so
they are from you."
"Joshua..." Kylie repeated his name again then
stroked his face. "Thank you."
"Thank you for what you and Clay are doing.
This means so much to Ethan and Ryan. And to
"It means so much to us to have you here."
Adam squeezed Joshua's shoulder. "I wasn't
sure we'd see you in the flesh this year but... as
always... you have great timing."
"I couldn't miss out on seeing everyone. And
it's Miss Maisy's first Christmas!"
Once Kylie released Joshua, Adam handed the baby to
"Oh... Ada-Marie and Felix are going to be so
happy when they get up from their naps!" Kylie
gushed. "And Clay... I'm sure he's going
to want to talk to you about... well..." She
waved towards the window which displayed her husband
approaching with the two boys in tow. "You'll
meet them, won't you?" she checked.
"Just say I'm a family friend."
"Gotcha. True enough... if an
understatement." Kylie nodded, drew in and let
out a deep breath to calm herself, and then went to
the door to greet her guests.
"Hi there, Ethan! Hi, Ryan!"
"Mrs. Coach..." Ethan, the oldest boy, forced a
smile and nodded politely. "Thank you for
Ryan, his younger brother, looked up at Kylie only
long enough to give her a shy smile.
"It's our pleasure! Come on in!" Kylie
waved them inside then grabbed Clay's arm.
"Joshua showed up," she whispered.
Clay's eyes went wide but he played it cool so as
not to alarm the boys.
Once the group was in the living room, Kylie made
"Ethan, Ryan... you know Adam... I mean Mr.
Adam, who sometimes helped Clay with his coaching
duties, waved to the two.
"Hey," the two echoed back.
"And this is Maisy..." Kylie waved to the
little girl who remained in Joshua's arms.
"She's so cute!" Ethan beamed. "Coach
showed us photos on Zoom but..." He
sighed. "Maybe she'll be able to come to a
game next year?"
Clay squeezed his shoulder.
"I really hope so, Ethan. And, finally, this
is Joshua, a family friend."
"Hi there!" Joshua smiled at the two. "I like
your Star Wars bag, Ryan. Who's your
The eight-year-old's eyes lit up.
"Luke Skywalker! I like Baby Yoda a lot,
too. I think... I like how he looks. And
how he acts in clips I've seen. But I've never
actually seen The Mandalorian. We
don't have Disney+." He frowned.
"Well, it just so happens that Mrs. Coach signed me
up for it for my birthday," Clay shared. "How
about you guys get settled in your room while we get
that set up and you can play catch up?"
"Really?!" Ryan's eyes went wide and
Beside him, his brother visibly relaxed.
"Sure! It's Christmas break, after all.
C'mon, I'll show you to your room." Clay waved
for the two boys to follow him.
Once they were gone, the three remaining adults and
Maisy moved into the living room where Kylie swiftly
got Disney+ up and running. After a couple of
minutes, Clay returned shaking his head.
"What a mess..." he mumbled.
Joshua handed Maisy to Kylie then embraced Clay.
"I'm so glad they knew they could trust you and
Kylie. This is the right place for them to
be," he assured.
"I just wish they'd spoken up sooner... The
cop told me that they've been fending for themselves
for a week! Their mom just up and left!"
"She's been struggling... and the pandemic's made it
worse but it's no excuse. And... Ethan was
embarrassed. And he felt like it was his
responsibility to care for Ryan. But a
neighbor realized what was going on and, rightly,
knew that a fourteen-year-old isn't supposed to be
head of the household. She called CPS and...
they have no other family so... Ethan asked them to
call his beloved coach. And here they
Clay's eyes welled.
"I'm glad Ethan knew we'd be there for them but... I
wish I'd known how bad things were before it came to
this. I mean I've met their mom two or three
times and she always struck me as a little, well,
flaky... but I never expected this. And with
them doing remote learning... I just didn't have the
clues that I might have had otherwise."
"You can't read minds, Clay," Joshua consoled.
"Remote learning has made it much more difficult for
teachers and coaches to spot abuse and
neglect. None of their other teachers saw this
"Do we have any idea how long they'll be here?"
Kylie asked. "I mean... they can stay forever
as far as I'm concerned. Just trying to plan."
"Their mom is still AWOL," Clay replied.
"So... at least until she shows up. And then,
you know, she could go to jail..." He peered
at Joshua. "I know you can't tell us the
future exactly but... any guidance?"
"Think long-term," was all he said.
"I mean we did discuss becoming foster parents once
Maisy was a bit older," Kylie reminded.
"We did..." Clay agreed.
"So... we're just moving the schedule up a
bit." Kylie smiled and hugged her
husband. "We can do it."
Clay returned her smile and hug.
"Yeah... we can."
Before anything more could be said, the two brothers
poked their heads into the room.
"Hey guys! Come on in and make yourselves
comfortable," Kylie invited. "We can start up
the first episode if you're ready?"
Ryan nodded eagerly.
"Great! I've already seen them so I'll go get
some snacks made up." Kylie deposited Maisy
with Adam. "Snuggle with your uncle. I
happen to know this episode makes him all misty
"Hey now!" Adam protested.
Kylie laughed and ruffled his hair.
"It's okay. It makes me teary, too.
But..." She raised a finger to her lips.
"No spoilers. I'll be back in a bit."
"I'll help," Joshua offered.
The two stepped into the hallway but looked back
once more. They could see Ryan in profile, his
eyes alight as the LucasFilm logo was
displayed. Ethan was more sober but his
shoulders, slumped when he'd been outside, had
When they entered the kitchen, Kylie hugged Joshua
"I really am so glad you're here. When we got
the call this morning..." She shook her
head. "We were pretty frantic. I wish we
had a room for each of them..."
"They'll be fine sharing, Ky. Even if they had
separate rooms, they'd probably share for a
while. Ethan's very protective of his brother
and Ryan..." Joshua dragged a hand through his
hair. "Ethan saw his mother's faults.
Ryan didn't. This has all come as a shock to
"Poor kid. Those gifts you brought... you
didn't happen to get a Baby Yoda doll, did you?"
Kylie questioned hopefully.
"You did! Ryan will be so happy. And
it'll be nice for him to have someone to cuddle."
"That's what I thought. And it'll be nice for
Ethan to be able to relax. He really does
trust the two of you. And Adam."
"I always suspected he kind of idolized Clay.
I mean... that's kinda typical with 'the
Coach.' But... more than that," Kylie mused as
she slathered frosting on graham crackers.
"He looks up to Clay because he never really had a
father figure. And a boy needs someone to step
into that role, especially at his age." Joshua
smiled fondly. "I was always close to my
parents. But I really relied on my Abi then
when I was trying to figure so much out about
"The messiah stuff, you mean?"
"That. But also, you know... hormones."
Joshua chuckled as he sliced apples.
Kylie smiled at him and shook her head in wonder.
"Sometimes I get so caught up in the real big
things... all you had to put up with while preaching
and... and then your death... and I forget about
stuff like... 'Wow! God went through
Joshua squeezed her shoulders.
"That I did."
"I think Clay will handle all of that really
well. But... I hope we do okay with the
trauma. Those boys have been through a lot."
"They have. And so have both of you.
It's not the same. But you can relate."
Kylie thought of her own estranged mother and
"Ethan and Ryan are in the perfect place, Ky.
"Always," Kylie murmured before resting her head on
Emma found Peter staring into
their closet, his right hand clasping something.
"Peter... You okay?" she checked.
Startled, Peter jumped.
"Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you," his
wife apologized as she approached and circled
her arms around his waist.
"No, no. It's fine. I was
just... Deep in thought."
"About our clothes?"
"No. Just..." Peter grabbed a
Emma recognized the bag as the one Peter used to
store Joshua's robe. Except for during Superstar's
annual run, he always kept the robe at their
"I miss it... I miss him. Even when
he's not physically around... he felt close when
I'd put that on and get on stage." Peter
gave Emma a sad smile. "And I miss our
whole Christmas thing. I mean I'm excited
about the virtual caroling. I really
am. But I miss going to Willowveil.
Decorating St. G's and having cookies with the
audience. Hanging out with Joshua and his
"I miss it all, too. And I keep praying
that this is the only year we'll ever have like
this." Emma kissed Peter's cheek then gave
him a sheepish smile. "I mean it would be
a little weird but... if you want to wear the
robe and do some sort of one man show version in
the living room, I'll watch."
Peter chuckled and shook his head.
"I appreciate that. I really do.
But... I think I need to stay myself in our
home. I don't want to confuse Sawyer."
"Speaking of... This has been a long nap
for him. I better go check on him
again. I hope he's not up to
anything..." Emma frowned.
"I'll go with you."
Peter took his wife's hand and the two left
their room and made their way to their son's.
Before they reached his door, they heard him
"Oh boy..." Peter grimaced. "I think
he's gotten into something."
"Well, it can't have gotten too bad. I
just checked on..."
Emma's voice transformed into a gasp when the
two looked into Sawyer's room.
The little boy was sitting in the rocking chair
Emma and Peter used when they read him bedtime
stories... and he was in Joshua's lap.
"Joshua!" Peter rushed forward and rested
a hand on Joshua's arm as if to confirm he
wasn't seeing things.
Emma began to cry even as a smile lit up her
"Hey there. Happy Christmas Eve
Eve!" Joshua hugged Sawyer, whispered in
his ear, and then set the boy down so he could
embrace his parents.
"We were just talking about how much we missed
'normal' Christmas. Especially seeing
you," Peter reported. "And now... here you
"Here I am." Joshua beamed. "I wish
we could all be together... and I wish I could
stay as long as I usually do but... I can stay
through breakfast tomorrow if you're willing to
put me up..."
"Of course we are!" Emma gushed. "We
didn't think we'd see you at all... well... we
did hope you'd pop up in our Zoom caroling
tomorrow... but this... to have you stay
"Thank you, my own." Joshua kissed her
"Mommy... Tummy hungry..." Sawyer
whimpered as he tugged on Emma's sweater.
Emma pulled the boy into her arms and kissed his
"Okay. Let's go make a snack."
"You come?" Sawyer asked, looking to Joshua with
All feeling very happy to be reunited, the
quartet headed to the kitchen to enjoy each
other's company and some freshly baked
That evening, several of the inhabitants of Dyeland and
the Tunnels gathered in the Willowveil ballroom.
There was singing, storytelling, dancing, and an
abundance of food. Joshua spent time with every
person gathered, giving them his full attention and all
of his love. And yet he still noticed when
JenniAnn abruptly left the ballroom.
Vincent, who was speaking with Joshua at the time, noted
his godchild's departure, too.
"She looked unwell," he observed. "Or, perhaps,
only unhappy. Should I..."
Joshua shook his head and rested a hand on Vincent's
"I'll go. We haven't had much of a chance to talk,
just the two of us."
"Thank you. I know my Psyche is in good hands...
the best." Vincent smiled warmly at Joshua.
Joshua squeezed the man's hand then headed towards the
hallway where JenniAnn had gone. Finding it empty,
he next checked the kitchen where he found her rummaging
through the refrigerator.
"JenniAnn? Can I help you?"
JenniAnn whirled around, hastily wiping at her eyes.
"I... I just... One of... of the kids mentioned
the graham cracker sandwiches that Kylie always brings
so... so I thought I would check to see if we had any
more frosting because Kylie isn't here and..."
Fresh tears began to trickle down JenniAnn's face.
Joshua stepped forward and hugged her.
"I... I miss everyone so much," she whimpered.
"I know, little bird. I know..."
"And... and I know I have it better than most.
COVID never got into Dyeland so... so we can still
gather with those sequestered here... safely... not many
have that but... but..." JenniAnn buried her face
in Joshua's shoulder and sighed.
"But you still miss your friends who aren't here.
There's nothing wrong with that, JenniAnn. In
fact, it would be troubling if you didn't miss the
others. I know they miss you, too. Just
because you have loved ones around you doesn't mean you
can't miss those who aren't here. I mean think
about it this way: after I went Home, my Ama still
missed me even though she still had my cousins...
siblings..." Joshua cocked his head.
"Couslings... I like that. And you're
right. Of course. At... at least technology
keeps us connected. But... it's not the same."
"No... it's not."
Joshua led JenniAnn to the table and sat down beside
her, keeping her right hand in both of his.
"Tell me," he gently prodded.
"It's just..." JenniAnn glanced down at her
claddagh ring. "Andrew... This... It's
taking its toll, Joshua. I mean... his hair!"
Joshua nodded. Andrew did have considerably more
gray hair around his temples than he'd had just a year
"It's not like other times... It's not like
with... with Chava. As horrible as that was, it
was in the past. This... it's on-going...
relentless... everywhere. And... and it could harm
me. Harm our children. And he knows
that. He carries that," JenniAnn lamented.
"And I... I don't know what to do with that, Joshua."
"Keep doing what you've been doing, JenniAnn.
Listen to him, hold him, comfort him... You're
helping to build a home and a family with him that can
restore and re-energize him... that can give him peace
and surround him with love. That's enough...
that's everything, JenniAnn," Joshua impressed upon her.
"Would... wouldn't he feel even greater peace at
Home? With you? With your Abba?" the woman
implored. "I love him so much... but not like you
can. And he... he has my worries and fears to
contend with. He wouldn't have that with..."
Joshua cupped her chin.
"And he wouldn't have some of what he has with you with
me. I mean I love Andrew with all I am...
But I don't think he'd enjoy dancing to Sting with me
very much. Certainly never made me a
headboard," he joked with mock annoyance.
JenniAnn burst out laughing.
Joshua smiled, delighted by the sound.
"True..." JenniAnn agreed once her giggle fit had
ended. "But I always thought... what happens
between a couple... whatever that is... at its best,
it's supposed to mirror your love for us. So how
is the mirror ever better than the reality?"
"Because, my little bird, that's not an entirely
accurate metaphor. When you look into a mirror,
you are never truly in the mirror. If the mirror
shattered, you would still be exactly as you are.
You and the mirror are entirely separate. The love
that you and Andrew share... that's part of me.
It's part of my love. Even if you wanted to, you
could never remove me from that love. You could
ignore my part of it. You could deny that I'm part
of it. But I would still be there."
"Yes..." JenniAnn nodded. "Always."
"Yes. So, when Andrew is with you, you should
never think of it as him being further from me.
Are there times when he needs to see me?
Sure. Just as there are times when you need to be
with your parents or Vincent and Catherine," Joshua
pointed out. "But my love for Andrew lives in you,
alongside your own love for him... just as my love for
you lives in him. He can feel that love with
you. And it's enough, JenniAnn. Andrew knows
he can come Home whenever he pleases. But that's
very often not what he chooses. Trust his
Too moved to speak, JenniAnn only nodded.
Joshua leaned in and kissed her forehead.
"Everything all right in here?"
The two turned to see Andrew standing in the doorway,
JenniAnn leaped up from her chair and ran to him,
hugging his middle tightly.
"Just... just needed a... a talk with Joshua. I'm
better now," she assured.
Joshua rose from his chair.
"JenniAnn, you stashed an extra pint of frosting behind
the pancake mix. I'll grab that and the graham
crackers for the kiddos. Why don't the two of you
take a few moments for yourselves?" he suggested.
JenniAnn beamed at Joshua.
"Sounds good. Thank you."
As he passed, Andrew squeezed Joshua's free hand.
"Not sure what happened but... thank you."
"My pleasure, beloved Andrew."
Joshua left the room but, in his mind's eye, saw the two
disappear into the pantry. He smiled and proceeded
to the ballroom where the little ones made graham
cracker sandwiches and watched, in thrall, as he made a
gingerbread house from the same materials and some
When Andrew and JenniAnn returned, the latter was
noticeably calmer. And if anyone but Joshua
noticed the pink lip gloss stain on the angel's neck,
they politely kept it to themselves.
As the last few moments of It's a
Wonderful Life played out, Joshua smiled at
the happy couple nestled on the couch across from
him. He was feeling quite cozy himself, snuggled
into the loveseat with Cara, short for Caravaggio, a cat
Graham had purchased to keep Owen company. Cookies
and half-drunk glasses of milk littered the coffee
"How you feeling?" Graham checked before kissing Owen's
"Better. That movie always makes me feel
"Much more relaxed." Graham looked over at
Joshua. "So... caroling now?"
"If you're ready... and if Cara is ready." Joshua
nuzzled the cat who chose to ignore him.
"Cara!" Owen chastised.
"No big deal. I made em independent after
all. But maybe..."
Joshua gently lifted the cat from his lap and set her on
Owen and Graham laughed when she began to meow and rub
up against Joshua's leg.
"See... It just needs to be on her own
time." Joshua scooped the cat up and headed
towards the balcony.
Owen and Graham followed, the latter turning on some
Christmas lights that were twined around the railing.
"Beautiful..." Joshua smiled down upon the
city. "So what should we sing first?"
"Do you think anyone will sing with us?" Owen asked.
"Maybe," Joshua replied with a shrug.
"'Silent Night,'" Graham suggested. "It's my
Joshua adjusted Cara so he could have a spare hand to
reach over and squeeze the doctor's hand.
"Then 'Silent Night' it is. One... two...
"'Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is
bright,'" the trio sang together.
To their right, another balcony door opened. A
woman stared at the three for a few moments then
returned to her apartment.
"'Round yon virgin, mother and child...'" Joshua,
Graham, and Owen continued.
"'Holy infant, so tender and mild...'"
The three smiled at each other when they heard a fourth
voice, seemingly from below them.
"'Sleep in heavenly peace...'"
The woman next door returned, a mug in her hands.
She took a seat on a bench and smiled with tears in her
A violinist joined in. And more voices.
Joshua's own eyes misted.
"'Sleep in heavenly peace...'"
Owen reached across Graham and squeezed one of Joshua's
"Thank you," he whispered. "This... is beautiful."
Joshua squeezed Owen's hand back and nodded.
"'Silent night, holy night... Shepherds quake at
the sight...'" the chorus of voices and the violin sang
together, a lullaby to their city.
While his brother was enraptured by
the first season finale of The Mandalorian,
Ethan was growing restless... and Adam
noticed. He abandoned his chair, taking a
clingy Felix with him, and sat beside the teenager.
"You can go outside if you want," he
whispered. "Just be sure to grab your coat and
gloves. It'll be chilly even with the bonfire
Ethan's face betrayed that he was sorely tempted.
"But I don't really know the other people..."
"Can't change that if you don't meet them.
They're great, Ethan. Coach invited you.
You'd be welcome."
Ethan glanced over at Kylie who was holding Maisy
while Ada-Marie was snuggled against her side.
Kylie met his gaze and cocked her head.
"Can I get you anything, Ethan?" she checked.
Ethan shook his head.
"No. Umm... Just thinking I might like
to go outside. To the bonfire."
Kylie's face lit up.
"I think you'd have fun! Ryan, did you want
to? We could always pause this and..."
The younger boy frowned, not looking away from the
"Maybe we'll stay in here, hmm?"
Ryan briefly grinned at her and nodded.
Ethan smiled and ruffled his brother's hair.
"Okay, have fun. I'm going out."
"Have fun!" Adam encouraged.
Ethan made his way to the hallway where he collected
his coat and gloves. Once he'd put them on, he
stepped outside and headed towards the bonfire a few
"Hey, Ethan!" Clay greeted. "Glad you decided
to join us!"
Ethan smiled as his coach clapped him on the back.
"Everyone, this is Ethan. Ethan, this is Dot
and Randall. They own the farm," Clay
"Welcome, Ethan!" Randall smiled at the boy.
"Glad to have you! You're gonna need this,
sweetie." Dot handed him a stick for toasting
"And this doofus..."
"Hey!" Caleb protested.
"Is Caleb," Clay continued. "Dot's and
Randall's nephew and one of my best buddies."
"Not sure what that says about you if I'm a doofus,
Clay," Caleb teased.
"And then we have Lacey, Caleb's better half."
"Won't argue with that!" Caleb looped an arm
around his wife's shoulders.
"Hi, Ethan! Welcome to our crazy, little
group." Lacey smiled warmly and handed Ethan a
bag of marshmallows.
"You've met Joshua, of course. So that just
leaves Edward, Caleb's twin."
"Hey there! We're missing my wife,
Zadie. We have a two-year-old... almost... so
we're taking turns inside with her." He tilted
his head towards their house.
"Cool. You all live here?" Ethan inquired.
"We all help out on the farm so it just made
sense. And... it made for a ready-made bubble
when the pandemic started."
"They tested Ryan and me before we came," Ethan
hurriedly assured the others.
Joshua smiled reassuringly at the teen.
"We're not worried, Ethan. Get yourself some
s'mores and take a seat. The logs are more
comfy than they look."
Ethan responded with a shy smile and happily
"So... how did you all meet?" he asked once he was
seated beside Clay. "I mean obviously a lot of
you are related but..."
"Jesus Christ Superstar," Edward answered.
"What? The musical?"
"Yeah. So this was what? Almost seven
years ago now?"
"Yup," Joshua assented.
"Edward and I were lounging around too much so our
mom made us sign up for a show at a local theatre...
and that show was Superstar. So we
ended up playing Romans. Adam was Pontius
Pilate. Kylie played his wife. And
Joshua, of course, was Jesus."
Ethan glanced over at the carpenter and nodded.
"I can see it."
"They decided they wanted some video for the
prologue so... the whole cast and crew came here to
our farm to film it," Randall relayed.
Ethan looked around. Even in the moonlight, he
could tell the land was beautiful.
"I bet that was cool. And you were also in the
show?" he asked his coach.
Clay shook his head.
"No... Actually, I was in a veterans' hospital
at the time. And not very happily...
When they told me some theatre group was coming in
as some sort of morale booster... I wasn't even
interested. But this guy coaxed me out of my
room." Clay smiled at Joshua. "And,
thank God he did, because that's how I met Kylie and
"That's really cool." Ethan smiled at his
coach then at Joshua. "I'm glad you got him
out of his room."
"And me three, obviously," Clay concurred.
"And this is why I always tell you boys to not let
yourselves get so wrapped up in sports that you shun
other pursuits. Building friendships outside
the team, exploring the arts, getting out of your
comfort zone... those are all important.
Without those, I might still be in that hospital
room. And three precious little souls wouldn't
Ethan felt a surge of warmth directed towards the
near-strangers who surrounded him. He realized
that, without them, he wouldn't have Coach.
And then where would he and Ryan be?
"On that note, I'm going to step inside and check on
Kylie and the kids." Joshua rose from his
bench. "And it looks like we're about out of
hot water and I'm in the mood for cocoa so I'll grab
Ethan also stood.
"Can I go with you?" he asked.
The teenager didn't see the anxious, hopeful glances
that passed between the others.
"Sure!" Joshua agreed.
Ethan wasn't sure why he wanted to go with
Joshua. He wasn't even sure what to make of
Joshua. But, since his and Ryan's arrival,
he'd had the uncanny sense that Joshua was at the
heart of this group he'd found himself in. So
maybe Joshua would know the answer to the question
he desperately wanted to ask.
The two headed back inside the Stanfords'
house. They peeked into the living room and
finding everyone content, moved to the kitchen where
Joshua started boiling some water.
"So... you've known Coach and Mrs. Coach for seven
"Yes. I know them very well, Ethan."
Ethan felt something catch in the back of his throat
as he peered into Joshua's eyes.
"So... so you can maybe guess at... at how they'd
react to something?" he pressed on.
"I think I could, yes."
Ethan drew in a deep breath. He began to
tremble as he let it out.
Seeing this, Joshua rested a hand on the boy's arm.
Ethan's eyes went wide as he felt his body
relax. He felt a boldness in his spirit, too.
"Ask me anything," Joshua encouraged.
"I don't think my mother is coming back. At
least... not for us. And I'll be fine.
I'm almost fifteen. But Ryan... He
deserves a stable home life. He needs
that. So... Coach and Mrs.
Coach... Are they just doing this to get us
out of a bind or... or could this be... permanent?"
Joshua squeezed Ethan's arm.
"Coach and Mrs. Coach will be there for you and for
Ryan for as long as you need them, Ethan. Just
as they will be there for Ada-Marie and Felix and
Tears welled in the teenager's eyes. He nodded
and Joshua nodded back before letting Ethan collapse
against him, crying and letting out all the worry
and grief that he'd held in for the sake of his
When he was finished, Joshua patted Ethan's shoulder
before releasing him.
The boy smiled at Joshua.
"You know, I bet you make for a really good Jesus."
"I'd sure like to think so."
Then, together, the two returned to the bonfire and
the companionship and cocoa it offered.
Thursday, December 24th,
Peter tried, unsuccessfully, to fall back
asleep. Emma was not sharing in his
trouble and so, as gently as possible, he
extricated himself from her arms and headed to
the kitchen for some spiced milk.
He was not surprised to find the kitchen
"Hey, there. Spiced milk?" Joshua
held a mug out to him.
"How did you know that I was coming for just
that thing? Oh wait..."
Joshua chuckled as Peter took a sip.
"Delicious. Thank you."
"You're welcome." Joshua gestured to the
table where his own mug waited.
The two sat down and were quiet for a few
moments before Peter spoke.
"So... back in April... you said that when
theatres could open again, you'd be willing to
come back... play Jesus again."
Peter smiled with relief.
"Thing is... as I'm sure you know... Eric and I
have been talking."
Joshua smiled over the rim of his mug.
"And as you also know... Emma and I... and Eric
and Neela... have decided to try for another
baby. The pandemic threw us off some
but... if theatres are back then... well, then I
think we'd all feel better about getting back to
trying. So... We thought maybe we
could split the role of Peter. And... then
you could play yourself. Full-time.
If you wanted."
"I thought you missed playing the part?" Joshua
"I do... But... I've more missed
seeing you. And I think... people need
you. They need to see you. Even if
they don't know it's you. So... what do
Joshua met the man's intense gaze and nodded.
"I think... Yes. I'd be happy to do
"That's great! Everyone will be so
excited. And just knowing that's in the
future... It'll help get us through the
next few months. Or... or however long it
"I'm glad. And... People will be
itching to get back to the theatre. The
St. G's regulars, especially. So... I was
thinking maybe we should do a few more shows
than normal. And I realize that's
additional strain on everyone. So... I was
thinking maybe there are some other parts that
we could split," Joshua suggested.
Peter peered at him with great interest.
"I'd love to hear your ideas!"
Joshua smiled and began to unravel his plan.
Joshua stood beneath a tree in the land that had
once been called Lenapehoking. On a
nearby tree trunk sat a platter bearing
cheese, bread, and fruit.
And then he heard the familiar voice.
Joshua chuckled as he listened.
"Coulda done with an extra hour of
sleep. You realize it's not yet 8 A.M."
"Shush, Crowley! It's what? 3 A.M.
here. He's had less sleep, I'm sure."
"But he doesn't need sleep."
"And neither do you, my dear. Not
"I find it very touching that he wanted to
spend time with us like this. Like the
"Ngh." Crowley cut Aziraphale off.
Joshua bowed his head. Crowley still
liked to avoid thinking about that year.
"But, yes, you're right. Means a lot."
The two figures broke through the tree line
and Joshua smiled and waved.
"Crowley, Aziraphale. Welcome!"
"Thank you for inviting us!" Aziraphale
spotted the tray. "Ooh... Is that
Chuckling, Joshua nodded.
"Dig in. Please."
Aziraphale didn't need a second invitation.
Crowley smirked and shook his head.
"Joshua..." He held a hand out.
Joshua warmly shook it and then, when Crowley
didn't protest, pulled him into a hug.
"Happy birthday. Day early."
"Thank you. And, yes, it is."
The two looked at Aziraphale who appeared to
be in ecstasy as he ate.
"You spoil him," Crowley accused.
"Pot, meet kettle," Joshua retorted with a
Crowley held up his hands in surrender.
"Anyway... I wanted to talk to you
tonight because this evening I'm doing a Zoom
call with the St. G's folks. After the
caroling part, we're going to stick around in
a private room and plan for when the theatre
re-opens. Superstar will be the
first show... no matter the timing... and...
I'll be playing myself again," he explained.
"How delightful!" Aziraphale chirped.
"Crowley, we'll be able to see the show live!"
"Ah... yeah..." Crowley gave a doubtful
nod then looked back to Joshua. "You
really have to do that? Again?" he
whispered. "I don't understand why you
keep torturing yourself with..."
Joshua took one of his hands in both of his.
"You didn't understand the first time,
either. Not really. But I was
right then. And I'm right now. And
this time... I need your help again, Crowley."
"Again..." Crowley repeated, his ancient mind
traveling back... back to Gethsemane. He
cringed and shook his head.
Crowley took off his glasses, his golden
serpent's eyes peering into the matching
golden flecks in Joshua's eyes.
"I... don't want to," he protested.
Tears formed in Joshua's eyes and he nodded.
"I know, my own."
Crowley bowed his head and kicked at the snow
beneath his feet.
"You... you really want this?"
"I do." Joshua squeezed Crowley's hand.
With a sigh, Crowley nodded then crumpled
against Joshua who embraced him.
Startled, Aziraphale abandoned his meal and
leaped up to wrap his arms around his beloved
friend and his Master.
Joshua stroked the angel's back as they
remained huddled together for several moments.
That evening, an hour before the public
caroling was to start, the Friends began to
sign onto a private Zoom call where they
intended to go through a final rundown of the
schedule for the show.
They all noticed that their friends seemed to
be inexplicably happy given they were spending
Christmas in virtual lockdown. Each of
them had a secret...
Once everyone was assembled, Peter spoke.
"So... for the first half hour, we have some
planned pieces. Emma's going to do
'Breath of Heaven' with Kylie. Zeke's
going to lead 'Go Tell It on the
Mountain.' Ibrahim and Liyana will
perform 'Immano'el (God With Us)' which is an
Arab Christian song. Right?" he checked
with Ibrahim who had felt a little nervous
when they'd last spoken.
Beaming, Ibrahim nodded.
"Right! I'm feeling much more confident
as is Liyana. Actually... I wasn't
sure whether to tell you all but..." He
laughed. "We saw Joshua! He... he
stayed with us last night!"
Zeke burst out laughing.
"I believe you, Ibrahim. I do.
But... Joshua stayed at my house last
night. Also... apparently."
The call erupted.
"Joshua was at Sol Mate last night and stayed
through breakfast!" Kemara gushed. "I
felt bad at first about not telling others...
especially those of you elsewhere in
Dyeland. But he said not to worry about
it... so I didn't."
"He was also in El-Chanan," Kyle
reported. "I guess if there was any time
to make the whole omni-present thing really
obvious... this was the time!"
Excited by this revelation, further discussion
of the playlist was forgotten as the Friends
excitedly chatted and celebrated the time they
had each spent with Joshua.
After an hour and a half of caroling, planned
and spontaneous, St. Genesius' virtual
Christmas show neared its end as the Gospels'
account of the Christmas story was told.
"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of
Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who
will shepherd my people Israel,'" John
"'Then Herod called the Magi secretly and
found out from them the exact time the star
had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem
and said, “Go and search carefully for the
child. As soon as you find him, report to me,
so that I too may go and worship him,'" Yosef
"'After they had heard the king, they went on
their way, and the star they had seen when it
rose 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.'" Maryam beamed at Joshua
who was seated beside her, his arm around her
shoulders as she read. He kissed her
cheek then spoke.
"'Then they opened their treasures and
presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense
and myrrh. And having been warned in a
dream not to go back to Herod, they returned
to their country by another route,'" he
finished before beaming at the camera.
"Merry Christmas, everyone!"
"Merry Christmas!" Emma echoed. "And
now, as a special request, we have a final
song. It's not a Christmas song.
But it's a song about going home... about
going back to a place you love after a time of
separation. It also has special meaning
to all of us as we sang it at the vigil for
Joshua. And we're so glad to sing it
now... with him."
While half the screen depicted photos of shows
and receptions at St. G's, the other half
showed the Friends as they sung.
"'I saw the sun begin to dim and felt that
winter wind blow cold... A man learns
who is there for him when the glitter fades
and the walls won't hold. 'Cause from
that rubble what remains can only be what's
true. If all was lost, there's more I
gained... 'cause it led me back... to you,'"
Peter sang before Eric picked it up.
"'I drank champagne with kings and
queens. The politicians praised my name
but those were someone else's dreams, the
pitfalls of the man I became. For years
and years, I chased their cheers. A
crazy speed of always needing more...
But when I stop and see you here, I remember
who all this was for!'"
The entire cast and crew joined in on the
"'And from now on, these eyes will not be
blinded by the lights. From now on,
what's waited 'til tomorrow starts
tonight... It starts tonight! Let
this promise in me start, like an anthem in my
heart. From now on! From now
on! From now on! And we will come
back home! And we will come back
home! Home again!'"
As the song progressed, Joshua happily sang
along... only halting when he noticed his chat
button blink. Curious, he clicked on it.
There was only one word from user Anthony J.
Joshua eyes filled and he sighed happily as he
"Thank you, my own. This is a wonderful
Some time later...
JenniAnn fussed over Joshua, mussing his hair first
one way and then the other.
"It's fine, little bird! I'm sure I looked
distressed enough. Opening night and all!"
"As if you have any reason to be nervous.
You've mastered the role. Only one who ever
Joshua kissed her forehead then moved to the edge of
the stage, preparing to perform "Gethsemane."
And then he saw him standing nervously across the
stage... flaming hair, gorgeous wings.
The serpent of Eden...
The angel of Gethsemane...
One and the same.
And, always, the one and only Crowley.
Crowley smiled back, jittery with nerves.
And somewhere in the crowd, someone watched.
Little knowing that in hearing the story of that
extraordinary being, they would find their own way
back home. They would learn that God was
always with them... even when they felt alone and
God was with them.
can be found here: https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/some-customs-of-the-delaware-indians/
Credits: Crowley and Aziraphale were created by Terry Prachett
and Neil Gaiman for their book, Good Omens. The
characterizations depicted here are based on the characters as
brought to life by Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Amazon's
Good Omens series. For anyone who hasn't either
read the book or seen the show, Crowley (formerly Crawly) is
the serpent of Eden and a demon (so-called) and Aziraphale is
a principality and the angel of the Eastern Gate. The
two formed an unlikely but long-lasting bond after Adam's and
Eve's expulsion. Thanks to Sierra for suggesting
bringing them into the Dyeland-verse. If you have
seen/read GO and are thinking "But wait... How can that
work? Gabriel was a total jerk in GO and he's lovely in
TBAA and Dyeland!" please rest assured that Sierra and I have
a plan and Gabe, Michael, and Marty/Metatron from the Dyeland
stories are still the wonderful angels they've always been and
always will be. And, yes, we will be seeing more of
Aziraphale and Crowley.
"Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Bly Manor
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Edward Pola
and George Wyle
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
It's a Wonderful Life
"Silent Night" by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr
"Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant
"Go Tell It on the Mountain" by John Wesley Work Jr.
"Immano'el (God With Us)"
"From Now On" from The Greatest Showman by Benj Pasek and
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye
for being the impetus of my Christmas season lasting until
January 14th... when I finally finished this!