Word Count 1,145
Beta: Lacy. Thanks & Merry Christmas my friend
An episode tag for Lion and the Lamb
Leaning on a wooden staff, a weary Scott complained, “It’s almost midnight. You have any other ideas how to bed down Gabe’s woolies?”
His brother shrugged his shoulders in the bright starlit darkness. “Not a clue. We’ve already tried everything Gabe said to do including singing Silent Night.”
Exasperated, Scott added, “A lot of good that did. What ever happened to the all is calm all is bright theory? It’s going to be Christmas in a little while. Don’t these animals have a natural instinct about settling down?”
“What do I know?” retorted Johnny, glancing over the herd of endless sheep. “I’m just a poor shepherd boy spellin’ Gabe so he can be at the Christmas Eve shindig and services.”
“Well,” grumpily replied Scott, “It’s our turn to lend a hand so the men can celebrate Christmas with their families down at the hacienda.”
He sat down next to his brother on the ridge. Johnny was petting a young lamb he was holding on his lap. Hearing his stomach growl, Scott finished up with, “Sure hope they leave us some leftovers and a few cups of eggnog.”
“What? Ya don’t like the goat’s milk and sheep-herders bread Gabe left us?” teased Johnny, watching the flock in the field below them.
By way of an explanation all he got was a grunt from his brother.
“Look Scott, I know you’d rather be anywhere but stuck here with me and these smelly, bleating, sheep. So why don’t ya haul ass and make the midnight service in our chapel.”
Johnny saw his brother’s eyes light up for a few seconds, then fizzle out.
Feeling bad, Johnny tried again. “Scott, feel free to go. I’ll just keep star-gazing with these sheep until Gabe gets back. Christmas is gonna arrive on its own dime with or without me havin’ company.” He looked up into the crystal, clear universe and spied the Big Dipper.
“No,” countered Scott, following his brother’s gaze. A large star caught his interest. “I said I’d welcome Christmas in with you and I will.”
Flatly with no hint of his feelings, Johnny asked, “Why Scott?”
“Why?” sharply repeated Scott, feeling somewhat bruised and insulted at the same time.
Johnny cast him a blank stare and continued to pet the now quiet lamb.
Ticked now, Scott spouted, “After all these years spent together as a family and celebrating Christmas pasts, you have to ask that?”
“Just checkin’,” softly replied Johnny, giving Scott a cheeky grin. He received a light smack to his arm for his trouble. The lamb, not liking the interruption of his soothing massage, sounded off. Baaa…and tried to squirm off Johnny’s lap.
“Hey little one,” cooed Johnny, stroking the coarse wool in earnest and trying to keep the struggling animal still. “It’s okay. Big brother here just got even with me because I made him admit he still loves me like yer mama loves you.”
A “Humph,” was heard from Scott. “Speaking of which, I think his mother wants him back in the fold.”
A large sheep stood at the edge of the flock giving them the evil eye from down below the ridge. Johnny let the lamb go and both boys watched him run back to his mother.
“Well that’s that,” stated Johnny, lying on his back and watching the stars. “Ya know Scott we’re really only out here because Gabe heard wolves howlin’ the other night.”
“Yes, I know,” said Scott, putting the Shepard’s hook between himself and Johnny as, he too, laid down on his back to ponder the silent, starlit universe. “By the way, do you hear anything?”
“You ain’t talk’in about a multitude of angels are ya, brother?”
“No, but the sheep sure are quiet all of a sudden.”
“Yeah, they are,” agreed Johnny, reluctantly sitting up and looking around the perimeter as far as he could see in the starlight. “Think its midnight yet?”
Mesmerized by the glitter of the stars, Scott said, “No idea. Why don’t you consult your watch?”
Johnny pulled his time-piece from his leather coat pocket and opened it. Unable to read the face of the clock, he said, “Sure could use a little more light.”
Suddenly, Scott exclaimed, “I don’t believe it! There it is!”
“There’s…what?” uncertainly probed Johnny, seeing a white brightness cover his hands that he couldn’t explain. Mind-numbingly, he noted it was midnight on the dot, according to his time-piece. With his eyes following to where Scott was excitedly pointing, he shakily closed the watch-cover with a snap and put it back inside his inner coat pocket.
A star, the likes of which he’d never seen before, was shining down in all its radiance over the valley. The sheep were oddly silent. Or, thought Johnny, struck dumb. Maybe in awe, but I doubt it. At the moment he couldn’t think of any words to describe the scene.
Not so with his brother. “Splendid,” he gasped.
“Splendid Scott? I think yer short-changin’ it. Try…ah…fine-lookin’.”
“I think beautiful works better.”
“What about dazzling?”
“Naw, that doesn’t do it justice either.”
“Okay,” agreed Scott, “How about…bravura?”
“Never heard of it. Let’s go with glorious…because it’s now Christmas morning,” softly stated a solemn-faced Johnny.
Scott almost shouted another synonym before he caught the reverence in Johnny’s hushed voice, as his brother asked, “Ya think it’s the Star of Bethlehem?”
“You mean the North Star? They are similar,” confirmed Scott, observing the night sky again. “Though I don’t agree with them, some people think they’re one and the same.”
“No, I mean the Christmas Star,” emphatically argued Johnny. “After all, we’re attendin’ a flock of sheep tonight and it’s sure calm and bright.”
Scott inwardly smiled at his sibling’s thoughts. “You know the Bible verse which goes with this little scenario?”
Johnny surprised his brother by quoting, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
Scott smiled in approval. “Two points if you can give me the book and verse.”
“Luke 2:14,” proudly stated Johnny.
“So Johnny, what does all this mean to you?”
“Me Scott?” Johnny looked back up at the blazing star. It seemed to grow bigger and say, ‘Follow me.’ His heart felt warmer and lighter in spirit. He saw his brother nod his head at him to go on with what he had to say. “Well accordin’ to the Good Book, Christmas is a promise fulfilled.”
“Like peace all over the world,” specified his brother.
“Yeah and love for our fellow man,” added Johnny. “It brings us hope.”
Scott repeated the facts, “So Christmas is peace, love and hope for all mankind if they chose to believe.”
“Yup, it’s the Christ Child’s birthday. A gift from our Heavenly Father to the world.”
Both Lancer boys looked to the heavens, then at each other and said, “Merry Christmas, brother.”
~ end ~
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