“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
Christmas. A time for family; a time for joy; a time for laughter, sharing and giving. But most of all, it’s a time to celebrate. And for the Cullen’s, this Christmas, in the small town of Healy, Alaska, it was even more special.
The decision to finally move came when Nessie and Jacob had gotten married earlier in the year of 2014. Deciding to be closer to their cousins in Denali, the Cullens moved to a small town called Healy, just north of the Denali National Park and southwest of Fairbanks. This time around, Carlisle had decided to forego the big city hospitals, and decided to be closer to his now ever-growing family and be a small town doctor instead.
Spending more time with his granddaughter and her new husband, brought him back to his life as a human, back to the church. Growing up, Nessie had brought with her the realization that Carlisle’s life, and the life of his family, finally had meaning, a purpose. Nessie also took an interest in her grandfather’s past, as well as sharing his belief that God does exist, as well as their souls. So with Nessie and Jake, Carlisle started attending the Baptist church in town. Soon over time, the rest of the family started believing and joined them, first with Esme and Bella, and last with Edward.
In March of that year also came the news that Nessie had become pregnant; something they all were secretly hoping for, but thought most likely never to happen because of her vampire half, and Jake’s shape-shifting gene. Through careful observation and calculation, Carlisle concluded her pregnancy was more human than vampire, which was a huge relief to Bella and Edward especially, since the baby would be more human than either vampire or shape-shifter. As her pregnancy progressed, her vampire side gave way to her human one, and only showed itself in her cravings: blood and ice cream, sometimes mixed together.
By the fall, with Christmas quickly coming around the corner, along with it Nessie and Jake’s baby, Carlisle decided to do something special with the family to celebrate. So, with the Pastor’s blessing for a Christmas special, and the family’s and the Pack’s enthusiasm, the preparations were underway. Alice and Rosalie quickly got to work on the costumes while Esme set to work on the framework for the stable. The rest of the Cullens, and those from the Pack that would be there for the birth of Jake’s baby, busied themselves in preparation for their roles.
By the time December came, Nessie was ready to pop. Jake’s pack: Seth, Leah, Embry, Quil along with Claire, arrived early in December, with a now human Sam, Jared, and Paul with their families, and Collin and Brady who still remained as wolves from the original Pack.
“As I’m sure you all have noticed over the past several months the stable that’s been set up just outside the building here. I would like to remind you all there will be a live nativity scene put on by our own Cullen family and friends on Christmas day. I invite you all to come out at around noon on Christmas day to check out the beautiful sight of our Savior’s birth.
“Now, go out and have a wonderful week. Merry Christmas and may God bless you this week until we meet again. You’re dismissed,” the pastor announced joyfully to his congregation at the end of the church service the Sunday before Christmas.
Esme had successfully constructed the stable just outside of the church building; complete with bales of hay and a trough as the manger. A small heater was place inconspicuously for the few that needed the extra warmth. Everything was set and ready to go, everyone knew their role and what was going to happen when; there would be more than just the live nativity this Christmas. The only thing that was missing was the main character in the nativity: baby Jesus.
Nessie finally gave birth to their son the following day. William Edward Black had arrived perfect, healthy and seemingly a normal human in every way, which was a relief to everyone not knowing how the two sides would react together: vampire and shape-shifter.
Christmas morning finally came. After presents were opened for the kids when they woke up, the Cullens helped everyone get ready for their big debut in a few hours; some dressed as real carolers in old-style dresses, bonnets and suits, while the rest dressed for their part in the nativity.
Just before leaving for the church, Carlisle gathered everyone in the living room to say a few words, “I just wanted to thank all of you for making this Christmas special. We have been blessed, as a family to have all of you here with us, as friends and family members, and blessed even more for the miracle that is our new great-grandson, something I never even fathomed could be possible. But as we go out today, we are celebrating an even bigger miracle, that our Lord Jesus was brought to us, to save us all, as a tiny baby. Let’s all remember that as we go out and sing of the Good News.”
When they arrived at the church, they found the Cullens had been busy that night finishing the set with last minute touches. The standing piano had been brought out from the church and placed to the left of the nativity and covered to protect it from the falling snow, along with choir risers set up for those that would be caroling. Speakers had also been set up and several wireless microphones were handed out to those that would be singing solos in the nativity scene, and two hand-held wireless microphones were placed in front of the risers for the carolers to use. When the sound was checked and everything was ready, the carolers took their places on the risers as Rosalie sat at the piano, leaving the nativity scene empty for now until the townspeople had come.
By eleven o’clock, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Leah, Emily and her two oldest boys Aidan (7) and Tristan(5), Kim and her oldest boy Hunter (5), Rachel and her oldest boy Ephraim (6), and Collin and Brady were ready and started singing the Christmas carols, effectively getting the town’s attention that something more was happening at the church. While Rosalie played the piano, the carolers sang Silent Night, Oh Holy Night, Away in a Manger, The First Noel, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, What Child is This?, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard On High and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen until there was a good size audience watching them.
The townspeople were surprised to find the nativity still empty and wondering where the carolers and piano came from since it wasn’t set up like that the day before. Curious and enjoying the music, they stayed and watched, occasionally joining in with the familiar songs that were being sung. Among the crowd, the Denali coven had ventured out to see what was happening as well, knowing that something was being planned from talking with the family earlier, but not knowing exactly what. They were very intrigued, never having heard the Cullens sing.
Finally they stopped singing, pausing for a moment to let the audience know something else was about to happen. As Rose started playing a new song, Esme stepped forward with her microphone, her soft voice singing Welcome to Our World. Gesturing with her free hand as she sang, singing from the heart.
When the song finished, she rejoined the carolers as Nessie emerged as Mary from behind the nativity where they were hiding wearing a long light blue robe with a cream shawl around her head and sandals on her feet. Rose started playing again as Nessie sang Breath of Heaven with perfect emotion coming through in her voice and face.
As Nessie turned back to the nativity, Alice floated to the front with another microphone. Rose started playing again and Alice sang perfectly Mary Did You Know with a knowing and worried expression playing on her face. As she sang, Jake emerged as Joseph with William in his arms wearing a long brown robe with a light brown outer shell, a small brown headband across his forehead. Paul followed him out dressed as a donkey, taking his place on the ground just outside the stable. They joined Nessie in the nativity, and Jake handed Nessie a sleeping William who was wrapped in white cloth, watching as she gently laid him in the manger. They all watched the sleeping infant reverently, seemingly frozen in their place.
When Alice finished her song, Carlisle stepped forward with his microphone and Rose started playing Mary’s Little Boy Child. As he sang, Bella climbed to the top of the stable, taking her place as an Angel dressed in a white robe with a little halo floating above her head and wings coming out from her back.
When Carlisle finished singing, he stepped back and rejoined the carolers as they all started singing Go Tell It on the Mountain as Rose expertly played. While the carolers sang, Seth, Embry and Quil came out dressed as shepherds, herding their little flock. Sam and Jared were dressed as cows, while Sam’s youngest son Jackson (3) and Jared’s youngest son Adrian (3) were adorable little sheep and Paul’s youngest son Chase (4) was dressed as a cute little pig. All of the animals taking their place on the ground with Paul, while the shepherds shook Joseph’s hand in greeting and hugged Mary then stood slightly behind her, looking down at the little sleeping baby in the manger.
When the song ended, Carlisle, Collin and Brady started the low Pum, Pum, Pum as Claire emerged singing Little Drummer Boy wearing worn grey robes and sandals on her feet with a little drum strapped across her chest as she played it, keeping the beat. As she sang, she walked around in front of the carolers and the nativity, banging her drum as she went, finally ending her journey next to the shepherds where she stayed sitting on a bale of hay next to Quil.
There was another slight pause when her song ended, the crowd taking the opportunity to applaud. When the clapping died down, murmurs could be heard floating from the crowd as they notice the scene wasn’t quite finished yet, there were three people missing. Suddenly, three booming male voices could be heard from behind the audience as the three wise men started singing a cappella to We Three Kings. Emmett was dressed in a purple satin robe and hat bordered with gold ribbon; Edward was dressed in blue similar to Emmett; and Jasper was in green, each carrying small packages as their gifts. As they sang, they joyfully made their way through the crowd, spreading their excitement as they went. When they reached the nativity at the end of their song, they each placed their gifts by the manger, and stood watching the baby slightly behind Joseph opposite the shepherds.
The audience briefly applauded again as Rosalie started playing once more and the carolers all sang Beautiful Star of Bethlehem as the nativity scene became complete.
Then Aidan, Tristan, Hunter and Ephraim stepped forward and Rose started playing Happy Birthday Jesus. The four of them, sharing microphones, all sang the beginning, then Aidan took his microphone and sang the solo while the other three stepped back still using their microphone as the carolers joined in on the chorus. Aidan ended the song with a softly spoken “I love you Jesus” toward to nativity scene as he walked back to his proud mother and the carolers. The audience was awed into silence as the little boys sang; some were brought to tears at the sight and sound.
Then Rosalie started playing Christmastime and the carolers all sang. Carlisle stepped out again, singing the solo, motioning with his free hand along with the words of the song as he addressed the gathered crowd through the song.
When the song ended, Carlisle stepped back as Rosalie stared playing Silent Night over again, this time everyone joined in singing all of the carols again, including everyone in the nativity scene. As they all sang the songs, Away in a Manger was sung by the four young boys, while Oh Holy Night, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear were all sung a cappella.
Ending the carols with Go Tell It on the Mountain, Collin and Brady step out as they sang, each grabbing a box of small individual candles, passing one out to everyone in the audience then taking their places again with the carolers as the song ended.
The nativity scene went back to reverently watching the still sleeping baby as Jake silently held up a single lit candle for his son. Esme stepped forward again carrying her own unlit candle and microphone as she started singing Go Light Your World while Rosalie played. While she sang, she walked towards Jake, lighting her candle with the flame of his. Then she took her candle and shared her flame with the closest person she came to, effectively spreading the flame throughout the whole crowd. The carolers each held up their own battery-operated pre-lit candles as they join Esme in singing.
When the song ended, Esme smiled and said a small “thank you” before returning to the carolers. The audience then gave a big round of applause, calling out and whistling with appreciation for what they just saw. Realizing the program was over, both pastors of the two churches in town started walking up. But before either of the pastors could get very far, Carlisle stepped forward again, this time also carrying with him his old family King James Version Bible with its worn and faded binding and cover from the use of his childhood and still dusty from its place on the shelves in his office.
Carefully opening the Bible to Luke chapter 2, he stared reading, “’1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
“8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
“15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen [it], they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard [it] wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered [them] in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’”
When he finished reading, he carefully closed his Bible, and then stated, “Let’s pray,” as he bowed his head. “Heavenly Father, we thank you for the many blessings you have shown and given us throughout our lives, and we thank you for sending us your Son, as a tiny baby, sent to earth to save us all. We ask now that you bless and be with each one of us here today as we go out into this world and take with us your light. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.”
Everyone responded with their own “amen” as Carlisle spoke again addressing the crowd, “My family and I would like to thank you all for coming out here today, and we hope you have all enjoyed this program. Please, enjoy this nativity scene my family has created and have a Merry Christmas.”
With that, the audience came forward to greet the carolers, saying “thank yous” and “good jobs”. Conversing with each other and watching as the nativity scene remained motionless, living statues. Soft coos could be heard coming from William, as both Nessie and Jake were the only ones moving freely to care for and play with their now awake son.
When the crowd finally left for their homes, the Cullen’s packed and put everything away again and headed home themselves, leaving the stable as the only evidence that anything happened at all, as it was before. The Denali’s joined them at their house, congratulating them on their wonderful performances as they enjoyed the quiet evening just being together as one big family.
This was truly the perfect Christmas, the best Christmas the Cullen’s had ever had.
Merry Christmas to all, and may God bless you this night.