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The Christmas Lamb

 

Copyright © 1989 Ann Carol Ulrich
All Rights Reserved

 

Continued
 

SCOTTY HAD BEEN ASLEEP. But now suddenly he was awake. Surely it couldn't be Christmas morning yet.  The room was still dark, but there was a blue glow of light coming from outside the bedroom window. Sitting up, Scotty checked to see that the toy lamb was still on his pillow. Where was that light coming from? It wasn't sunlight. It wasn't moonlight either.

Carrying Lambchop under his arm, he got out of bed and walked to the window. Mark snored softly from his bed. Outside the window Scotty could see the street and the trees. The world seemed to be bathed in a soft blue light that made the snow glisten like little crystals. His chin dropped in wonder.

A soft hum met his ears. Scotty remembered Santa Claus. Could it be? He looked up and could see that the strange blue light seemed to be coming from above. Was Santa and his reindeer on top of the roof?

With a prickle of excitement, Scotty went to Mark's bed and leaned over his brother. "Mark, wake up. I think he's here."

Mark moaned and pulled the blanket over his ear.

"Don't you want to see Santa Claus?"

Mark grumbled and lapsed back into slumber.

Scotty wanted to go have a peek downstairs, but he was afraid. If Santa caught him spying, would he still leave any presents? He started to crawl back into bed when he remembered something.

"Oh no." Scotty hugged Lambchop. "What if Santa tries to come down the chimney? Lambchop, we've got to warn him." Keeping the little lamb close to his side, Scotty left the bedroom. The blue glow seemed to come from downstairs as he felt his way toward the staircase and quietly climbed down the steps.

In the living room he could see everything perfectly, even though it was still night. The blue glow was everywhere, and Scotty could see piles of gifts beneath the Christmas tree. The wood stove flickered orange flames from within. His eyes took in the red stockings stuffed with little presents and candy canes. Santa Claus had already been there!

A voice that sounded like the wind met his ears. Scotty turned toward the front door, where blue light seemed to radiate from between the cracks. "Scotty... come out here," called the voice.

Grabbing Lambchop even tighter, Scotty started slowly for the door, then stopped. He couldn't go outside. It was cold and he didn't have his coat. Besides, the door would be locked. Dad always locked the door at night.

Suddenly the front door began to swing open, and bright blue light flooded into the house. Scotty saw someone standing behind the light, a grown person. Because the light was so bright, he could not see the person's face, but the voice continued to call softly and gently, "Scotty... come out here. Do not be afraid."

Something about the voice convinced Scotty that no harm would come to him, but he stood where he was, unsure what to do. "Take my hand," said the voice.

A white slender arm reached out just then. It seemed to radiate blue light. It drew Scotty through the doorway, and he found himself not outside in the wind and the cold, but inside somewhere warm and light.

At once Scotty was aware of laughter and voices and music. He was in a huge room where people were gathered. Because of the brightness he had to squint. It was so bright, he couldn't see the people's faces, but they spoke to him in gentle voices. "Welcome, Scotty," they told him. "We are happy you are with us."

"Where am I?' Scotty clung to Lambchop as the person who had met him at the door guided him through the room.

"Are you still afraid?" the gentle voice asked. Scotty thought it was a woman's voice, but he couldn't be sure.

"No," he said.

"Good. I am the Guardian. I have something to show you."

They passed a bench in a dimly lit area, and Scotty turned his head and saw his brother Mark asleep on the bench. Then he saw his father sleeping on another bench. He looked up at the Guardian. "Where is my Mom?"

The Guardian pointed across the room, and Scotty saw a circle of strange people. Among them was his mother. She smiled when she saw Scotty and waved to him. She did not appear to be frightened, so he waved back and then let his guide lead him into another room. In front of him was a huge screen, and there were some people sitting, working controls. On the screen Scotty could see the ground dropping farther and farther below. The lights of the city grew dimmer until they disappeared and all he could see were clouds.

"A spaceship!" cried Scotty in excitement. "Where are we going?" he asked the Guardian.

"You will see."

Scotty watched the viewing screen as they seemed to descend upon a field. The lights from the ship combed pastureland and as they dipped nearer, Scotty saw sheep. Hundreds of white fluffy bodies swarmed below them. Scotty hugged Lambchop and said, "They are afraid of the lights. See how they're running away?"

As the sheep scattered in every direction, the ship came to rest over a little hill where several men stood. Each of the men wore a cover over his head and carried a long prod for herding sheep. Scotty saw the men fall to their knees and bow their heads. At once a flood of the most beautiful music Scotty had ever heard began to fill his ears. A ripple of colors flashed over the group of shepherds and when one of them dared to look up, Scotty saw that he was still afraid.

Then the ship lifted up, leaving the frightened shepherds far behind. The next thing Scotty saw was a little town with a few scattered lights. They drew closer until he saw they had come to rest just over a barn-like structure. The light from the ship made the dark of night seem like midday. Scotty saw a man's face at the doorway of the shelter. The man was dressed in a funny robe and shielded his bearded face from the bright light.

"Do you know who is in there?" asked the Guardian.

Scotty shook his head. He had almost forgotten the Guardian was still standing next to him.

"Would you like to go inside and see?"

"By myself?" Scotty asked hesitantly.

"I will go with you." The Guardian raised his arm and there was a flash of light so bright that Scotty covered his face.

When he opened his eyes again, he found himself standing at the doorway to the shelter. There was a barnyard smell actually not too unpleasant. The room within was filled with hay as they entered.

"Come in." The man in the robe beckoned them over to a corner of the barn, where a kind-faced woman squatted beside a box filled with hay. As Scotty approached he noticed something move inside the box. he stopped in front of it and saw a tiny baby. The same blue light seemed to fill the manger. The baby was asleep and looked so perfect and so clean. Scotty had never seen a baby so new before. He didn't know what to say, so he said nothing.

"Scotty... come along now," the Guardian called from the doorway.

Scotty turned to look at the Guardian, who still radiated so much light that he could not see its face. Cradling the stuffed lamb in his arms, Scotty glanced down at Lambchop, then kneeled next to the manger. he looked up at the baby's mother, who watched him eagerly. On an impulse, Scotty put the stuffed lamb into the manger beside the sleeping baby's cheek. Then he stroked the silky white fur with his finger. Lambchop's face tilted up at him as if in farewell, with its gentle smile.

The baby gave a little jerk in his sleep and then suddenly awoke. For a moment his tiny bright eyes focused on Scotty's face. Scotty's lips parted. He felt the baby knew him somehow. When the baby's dad nodded his approval, Scotty turned to the Guardian and left the stable. As he went through the doorway he remembered a brilliant flash of blue light, but that was all.

"WAKE UP! WAKE UP! It's Christmas morning!"

Scotty stirred in his bed. Mark jumped up and down beside him. Then Scotty sat up in bed. Daylight flooded the bedroom as he watched his older brother run out of the room in his bathrobe and slippers. Downstairs he could hear the crackle of a new fire in the wood stove, and the smell of coffee and bacon wafted up from the kitchen.

"Scotty, come on!" yelled Mark. "Santa Claus came!"

"I know." Scotty noticed Lambchop was no longer on his pillow. He checked the floor and beneath his blankets, then got up and went downstairs. Dad closed the door to the stove after tossing in another log, and Mom sat in her slipper with a cup of coffee in her lap.

"Good morning, sleepyhead." Mom smiled at him.

Mark had already ripped down his stocking and was pulling out all the candy. Scotty gazed around the room at all the presents.

"Did you sleep well, son?" asked Dad.

"Yes." Scotty rubbed his eyes.

"Hey, where's your stuffed lamb?" Dad wanted to know.

"He left it upstairs," said Mark.

"No, I didn't," said Scott.

"You know, it's funny," chuckled Dad. "I had a dream about a bunch of sheep last night."

"Scotty, don't you wanna see what's in your stocking?" Mark stuck the end of a candy cane into his mouth.

"It's far better to give than to receive," said Scotty.

Dad and Mom exchanged puzzled looks, and then Dad smiled. "Why don't you go upstairs and get your new toy? We'll wait for you before we open the gifts."

Scotty threw his hands out in front of him. "I can't, Dad. I don't have Lambchop anymore."

"What?" cried Dad.

"Sweetheart..." Mom set her coffee down.

"I gave Lambchop to the Christ child," Scotty explained.

Mark guffawed. "You liar!"

"Hush," said Mom.

"But I did," insisted Scotty, "I gave Lambchop to the baby Jesus."

Dad's eyes looked ready to pop out of his head, but Mom touched a finger to her lips. "Let it go, Ken." Turning to Scotty, she smiled. "Merry Christmas, son."

 

THE CHRISTMAS LAMB was published in THE STAR BEACON

© 1989 All Rights Reserved

 

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