Today is Epiphany, the celebration of Jesus’s introduction to the world via “wise men from the East” (Matthew 2:1). This modern day take is a companion to The Shepherds.
Like most brick-and-mortars, Middleton Mall has seen better days. But the annual Festival of Trees still brings ’em in, including the Wisemans.
“Well, that was nice,” says Colleen Wiseman, willing it to be true for her family’s sake.
“Really?” her daughter Talia replies. “We should’ve just bought online.”
“What up, elf girl?” dad Bill Wiseman reacts.
Talia groans. “Seriously, Dad?”
“Hey, when did you suddenly go all moody-broody teenager on us?”
Mom pokes him.
But Talia’s needs to answer. “The mall’s not what I love about Christmas, Dad; you guys are. But don’t you feel it? It’s like we’re missing something! Look, I know this is a stupid time to blow up, but I’ve been keeping this inside for so long I just…can’t anymore.”
Colleen touches her daughter’s hair. “I’ve been feeling it too, sweetie. We’ll have cocoa and talk about it when we get home, OK?”
“So,” Bill says, “we meet back here at nine. Have wish-lists, will buy!”
“A little less fake holiday cheer, honey,” Colleen advises.
“Yeah. OK. Boy, what’s up with us, huh? Oh, were you going to buy something for that carpenter who’s redoing our cabinets?”
“Joe? Yeah, something small. His wife just had a baby.”
Talia erupts: “Really? You guys, this is crazy-bizarre! I dreamed about them last night, and I didn’t even know about the baby, but in the dream I did! And his wife looked right at me and said she had something really important to tell us!”
“Funny, they actually invited us over,” Colleen adds. “Did I tell you? Tonight. They’re so young and they have almost nothing, but Joe said they wanted to give us something!”
The Wisemans stare at one another for a moment, and then hurry off into the mall.
Two hours pass. Colleen enters with a huge box and plops it down, her face transformed with delight.
A moment later, Talia enters, beaming, carrying a bulging bag.
Colleen says, “You look like the cat that ate the canary.”
“It’s a mobile! Oh, Mom, it’s got a star and angels and—”
“Would that be for your 17 year old brother or your 46 year old dad?”
“For the baby, silly!”
Bill enters, lugging a huge box. “What? It’s a stroller. Hey, they’re going to need one!” He glances at Colleen’s box.
“It’s a crib. I make no excuses!”
“Oh, Mom,” Talia shouts. “We have to take these to them now!”
“But how? They live way out at the edge of town.”
“I remember their address!” Bill replies. “It’s a miracle! I mean, I only heard it once and I remember it! I think. Anyway, the car’s got On-Star and…
It’ll lead us right to them!”
As the Wisemans rush away, “We Three Kings” swells up on the mall’s loudspeakers.