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SEASON OF MIRACLES

Written by Carl Binder / Directed by Carl Binder

TEASER
FADE IN:

EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF GENERAL STORE - MORNING - DAY ONE
COLLEEN (holding KATIE) watches as MATTHEW, BRIAN and a few TOWNSMEN finish hoisting the town Christmas tree into place. Matthew looks over at her.
COLLEEN
A little to the left.
(they adjust it)
Too far. Back to the right.
(they adjust it)
Stop!
(smiles)
Perfect.
Matthew and the men set about to secure the tree in place as Brian steps over to Colleen to admire the tree.
BRIAN
Now comes the fun part -- decoratin' it.
LOREN, busily stocking Christmas goods (toys, ornaments, etc.) in front of the store, pauses to stare up at the tree.
BRIAN
What d'you think, Mr. Bray?
LOREN
It's a fine tree, Brian.
BRIAN
Wanna help us decorate it?
LOREN
Wish I could.
(back to work)
Too many things to do.
COLLEEN
(to Brian)
Maybe Horace'll help us.
MATTHEW
(coming over)
He went to St. Louis for the holidays to see Myra and Samantha.
LOREN
What about the Reverend? Ain't he the one who usually organizes this kinda thing?
MATTHEW
Ain't seen him around.
GRACE hurries over from the cafe, interrupting the moment.
GRACE
Loren, you got any pecans? I got six pie orders an' I'm fresh out.
LOREN
Coupl'a pounds is all I got left.
Loren leads Grace into the store, nearly bumping into DOROTHY, who comes out, trailed by a persistent JAKE, who's not happy about what he sees in the Gazette he's holding.
JAKE
This ad is too small. An' nobody'll even see it on the back page.
DOROTHY
Exactly. But you didn't wanna pay for the front page, remember?
JAKE
Forget what I said. I want the Gold Nugget to be noticed.
BRIAN
(as they pass by)
Hey, Miss Dorothy, Jake. You wanna help us decorate the tree?
Jake just gives him a look -- are you kidding? -- then turns back to Dorothy.
JAKE
Front page. I want it noticed.
He hands her the paper and heads over to the barbershop. Dorothy looks back at Brian and Colleen.
DOROTHY
I'd love to help, Brian, but I'm runnin' a little behind.
She heads off to the Gazette as Grace comes back out of the store, carrying a bag of pecans.
GRACE
Will you charge it to my account, Loren?
(before he can speak)
Thanks.
Brian starts to call to her, but she's already halfway to the cafe, not even noticing the tree. As Matthew, Colleen and Brian watch Grace go:
COLLEEN
Looks like we're gonna be decoratin' the tree ourselves this year.
BRIAN
No, we'll find somebody.
LOREN (O.S.)
Would you look at this...
The three look over at Loren, who's pulled a beautiful snowdome out of a crate and is about to set it on display.
LOREN
Pretty, ain't it?
Loren takes in the beautiful tableau inside the dome (a country church on Christmas Eve, with a blanket of snowflakes falling all around) before turning back to the kids with a chuckle:
LOREN
More snow than we've had around here in years.
He sets the dome on display and goes back inside the store. Brian regards the dome a moment before turning his gaze back toward the bare Christmas tree. Off his look...

EXT. ROAD IN COUNTRYSIDE - DAY ONE
MIKE and SULLY, ride toward town in the buckboard wagon.
MIKE
I've been thinking about Christmas presents for the children. We won't be able to afford as much this year.
SULLY
They'll understand. Important thing is we're together.
MIKE
(suddenly, hushed)
Sully, stop.
She's spotted something. Sully pulls up on the reins and stops the wagon. He gives her a look, and she points off toward:

+THE BUSHES
where a plump TURKEY pecks mindlessly away at some seeds.

+BACK TO MIKE AND SULLY
as she leans close to him, whispering:
MIKE
Christmas dinner.
SULLY
I don't have my bow. I'll come back later and --
He stops short as Mike climbs down from the wagon.
SULLY
What're you doin'?
MIKE
Shhh.
She points out her plan -- you approach from one side, and I'll approach from the other.
SULLY
Michaela, just let me get my --
But she's already moving off to get into position. Sully shakes his head -- he's not too sure this will work -- but he decides to go along with it. He jumps down from the wagon, circling around to one side of the bushes as Mike circles the opposite way.
The two move silently into place as between them, the turkey continues to peck away in blissful oblivion.

+CLOSE ON MIKE
as she counts silently to three, then:
MIKE
Now!
She leaps into action, followed by Sully. The turkey immediately sees what's happening and bolts, running this way and that, dodging outstretched hands at every turn.

+MIKE AND SULLY
are laughing now as the turkey dashes between them, causing them to bump into each other. As the turkey disappears into the brush, Mike and Sully tumble to the ground in a cloud of dust. They settle a moment, catching their breath, then:
SULLY
How 'bout meatloaf?
As the two resume laughing...

EXT. STREET - DAY ONE
Mike and Sully ride into town (from the direction of the train station). As they turn the corner to head to the clinic, they see Brian and a few KIDS making ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. Sully pulls the wagon to a stop. As he helps Mike down:
SULLY
Tree looks good, Brian.
BRIAN
(coming over)
Just tryin' to find some people to help decorate it. Matthew had to go to work, Colleen took Katie to Becky's.
SULLY
I got some huntin' to do...
(a smile to Mike)
Gotta round us up some Christmas dinner.
(back to Brian)
But I can help you when I get back.
MIKE
And I can help you, too, when I'm done at the clinic.
BRIAN
(encouraged)
All right.
Mike gives Sully a quick kiss, then heads for:

EXT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE
Mike starts to unlock the door, when something catches her eye:

+ANGLE - THE REVEREND
walking slowly, tentatively toward the clinic from the church, a worried expression clouding his face.

+BACK TO MIKE
as she steps toward him, eyeing him with growing concern.
MIKE
Reverend?
The Reverend looks in her direction, but doesn't appear to see her. Just as he's about to speak, he steps directly into the path of a moving carriage.
MIKE
Reverend, watch out!
He jumps back at the last second, barely avoiding getting hit as the carriage rolls past. The commotion seems to disorient him -- he turns, looking back toward the clinic.
REVEREND
Michaela?
She steps right up to him, facing him directly, but yet he still doesn't see her. Mike takes this in a moment, then:
MIKE
I'm right here, Reverend.
The sound of her voice draws his attention to her. Mike looks up at him, coming to the dreaded realization that he can't see, as we:
FADE OUT
END OF TEASER

ACT ONE
FADE IN:

INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
CLOSE ON A CANDLE, as a match lights it.
MIKE (O.S.)
Are you able to see anything at all?
WIDEN TO REVEAL Mike, who takes the candle and holds a piece of reflective metal behind it as she moves the flame in front of the Reverend's eyes. She moves the candle closer to his eyes and then back again as:
REVEREND
A little. I catch a few things outta the corner of my eye. But things right in front of me are all blurry.
MIKE
Did you sustain a blow to your head?
REVEREND
No.
MIKE
When did the symptoms begin?
REVEREND
Coupla days ago.
Mike blows out the candle and sets it aside.
MIKE
Have you had any headaches, or problems keeping your balance?
REVEREND
No.
MIKE
What about numbness, or tingling in your hands and arms?
REVEREND
No, nothin' like that.
MIKE
(reassuring)
Good. That's good.
She gently turns his chin to face forward, then holds up her right index finger directly in front of his face.
MIKE
I'd like you to look straight ahead. I'm going to move my hand. Tell me when you can see it.
Mike holds her left hand still as she slowly moves her right index finger to the side. When it moves into his peripheral vision:
REVEREND
Now.
Mike lowers her hands.
REVEREND
What's wrong with me?
MIKE
I suspect a condition, but I won't know for certain until I can examine you with an ophthalmoscope. It's an instrument we use to look into the eye.
(glancing around at the clinic)
Unfortunately, I don't have one.
(back to the Reverend)
But Andrew does.
CUT TO:

INT. ANDREW'S CLINIC - DAY ONE
ANDREW peers through his ophthalmoscope into the Reverend's eyes.
ANDREW
You're right. The optic nerve is inflamed.
Andrew steps back and allows Mike to look. The Reverend tries not to look worried.
REVEREND
What's that mean?
MIKE
You have a condition called optic neuritis. We don't know what causes it, but the optic nerve becomes red and swollen, impairing your eyesight.
ANDREW
It can happen suddenly, over the course of hours, or over several days. But in many instances the condition is only transitory.
REVEREND
Transitory?
MIKE
Quite often the inflammation dissipates, and the symptoms reverse as quickly as they appeared.
A look of relief washes over the Reverend's face.
REVEREND
You mean I'm not gonna stay like this?
Mike and Andrew exchange an uncertain look, then Mike turns back to the Reverend.
MIKE
We'll know more over time. I'd like you to stay at the clinic, where I can better observe your condition.
REVEREND
Certainly.
Mike turns to Andrew, growing self-conscious. She wants to ask him something, but feels uncomfortable about it. Before she can speak, Andrew hands her the ophthalmoscope, knowing this is what she wants.
ANDREW
Here. You'll need this.
MIKE
(taking it)
Thank you. I'll return it --
ANDREW
Whenever you can. No hurry.
Mike gives him a grateful smile.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Mike and the Reverend pull to a stop in front of the clinic, where Sully, Colleen and Brian have been joined by Loren, Dorothy, Grace and ROBERT E. Everyone's concerned for the Reverend, moving in to help him down.
DOROTHY
Reverend, are you all right?
REVEREND
I'll be fine. Don't worry.
LOREN
Is it true? Are you blind?
MIKE
He's not blind, Loren. His vision has merely been impaired.
REVEREND
(clinging to hope)
And it's only temporary.
GRACE
That's a relief.
Mike reacts, uneasy about this, but covers by turning to Colleen.
MIKE
Colleen, would you help the Reverend up to the recovery room?
COLLEEN
Sure, Ma.
Mike hands Brian the ophthalmoscope.
MIKE
Would you please take this into the clinic?
Brian takes the ophthalmoscope as Mike turns back to the Reverend.
MIKE
I'm going to wire some specialists in Boston and New York about your condition.
The Reverend nods. As Colleen ushers him into the clinic, followed by Brian:
ROBERT E
We're here if you need us, Reverend.
REVEREND
Thank you, Robert E. Thank you, everybody.
The folks disperse as Sully and Mike start up the street. Sully waits until everyone is out of earshot before he speaks.
SULLY
Is it true? Is it only temporary?
MIKE
In most cases it is...
(beat, difficult)
However, there are some instances where the condition becomes permanent.
The two exchange a quiet, concerned look as they continue up the street.

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE
Brian and Colleen lead the Reverend in, being overly careful.
BRIAN
C'mon in, Reverend. Do you wanna sit on the bed, or should I get you a chair?
REVEREND
You don't have to fuss over me.
COLLEEN
Are you hungry? I can go to Grace's, get you some lunch.
REVEREND
I'm fine --
COLLEEN
How about some books, or your Bible --
She stops short, catching herself, feeling terrible.
COLLEEN
I'm sorry...
REVEREND
It's all right, Colleen.
The Reverend knows Colleen feels terrible, and tries to help her out of it:
REVEREND
Come to think of it, some soup from Grace's would do nicely.
COLLEEN
Sure. I'll be right back.
She goes out as the Reverend sits down on the chair. Brian steps over to the dresser, picks up the ewer.
BRIAN
I'll get you some water.
He starts out, but as he gets to the door he glances back.

+BRIAN'S POV
of the Reverend, seated in the chair. Thinking he's alone in the room, his public facade begins to crumble, revealing his inner sadness and growing fear.

+BRIAN
comes back to him, his voice soft, reassuring:
BRIAN
Don't worry, Reverend. Ma helped me get my sight back that time I hit my head. She'll do the same for you.
The Reverend manages a nod and a smile, but the worry is still there.
BRIAN
You just watch -- by the time Christmas gets here, you'll be good as new.
REVEREND
(quiet, hopeful)
Lord willin'.
BRIAN
Think we're gonna get snow this year?
REVEREND
I hope so.
BRIAN
Me too. You gonna do another livin' Nativity for the Christmas service?
REVEREND
No. This year I was hopin' to keep it simple. Talk about the first Christmas... get the congregation to put themselves in the place of the shepherds, out in the fields --
BRIAN
When they saw the star over Bethlehem?
REVEREND
That's right -- the most brilliant, gleamin' star in the sky... and from it, a host of angels descendin' to earth...
Brian looks up, trying to picture the sight.
BRIAN
How many d'you s'pose are in a host?
REVEREND
(smiles)
Oh, hundreds -- thousands... their wings glistenin' in the light from the star.
(beat)
Imagine how those shepherds musta felt, gazin' up at that incredible sight, listenin' to the news of the Christ child's birth.
Brian turns to the Reverend with a smile.
BRIAN
I've never even seen one angel, let alone a whole host of 'em.
The Reverend smiles again.
REVEREND
Me, either.
BRIAN
Musta been beautiful.
The Reverend quiets a moment, then:
REVEREND
God's greatest miracle.
Brian looks at him, touched by the Reverend's sadness.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY ONE
Mike walks with CLOUD DANCING, who holds Katie in his arms.
CLOUD DANCING
Perhaps a tea made from dogbane will help the Reverend. Or alumroot.
MIKE
Hopefully that will work. If it doesn't...
Mike falls silent, dreading that possibility.
CLOUD DANCING
That is for the spirits to decide. If they choose not to return his sight, then it is meant to be.
Mike stops walking, deep in thought. Cloud Dancing also stops, turns to her.
MIKE
(beat, troubled)
Why would they do this to him?
Cloud Dancing looks at her -- this doesn't unsettle him the way it does her.
CLOUD DANCING
The spirits do not punish us. They only show us which direction we need to go.
Mike looks at him, trying to understand.
CLOUD DANCING
Where one path ends, another begins.
Mike absorbs this in thoughtful silence, as Cloud Dancing turns his attention back to Katie.
CLOUD DANCING
Katie, each day you grow more beautiful.
He holds her up above him, saying something in Cheyenne. Mike looks over at him, wondering what this means. Cloud Dancing turns to her, smiles.
CLOUD DANCING
In her eyes I see her mother's.
Mike smiles back at him, but we can see she's still troubled...

EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF CLINIC - DAY ONE
Mike (with Katie in her basket) pulls up in front of the clinic to find Colleen and Brian waiting for her. Mike immediately reads their worried expressions.
MIKE
What's wrong?
COLLEEN
The Reverend. His eyes're gettin' worse.
As Mike hops down from the wagon:
MIKE
Brian, would you ride out to the hotel and get Andrew for me?
BRIAN
Sure.
Brian runs off as Colleen picks up Katie and follows Mike into the clinic.

INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
The Reverend, now clearly worried, sits on the examination table, staring directly ahead as Mike examines him with the ophthalmoscope. Andrew and Colleen watch from nearby.
MIKE
The inflammation is not dissipating.
ANDREW
Are there signs of atrophy?
MIKE
I'm afraid so.
Mike sets the ophthalmoscope aside, then holds the Reverend's chin steady as she places her finger in front of his face (the same procedure she performed earlier).
MIKE
Tell me when you can see my hand.
She slowly moves her right index finger to the side. This time, her hand moves further into his peripheral vision before he responds:
REVEREND
Now. But it's blurry.
Mike lowers her hand and exchanges a concerned look with Andrew. Their silence increases the Reverend's fear.
REVEREND
I thought you said it was gonna get better.
MIKE
The condition may still reverse itself.
COLLEEN
Isn't there anythin' you can do?
MIKE
I've brought some herbs from Cloud Dancing that might help with the inflammation.
(a look to Andrew)
I also think I should wrap his eyes.
ANDREW
I agree.
REVEREND
Wrap 'em?
ANDREW
To decrease movement and allow them to rest.
MIKE
Hopefully, after a few days, the inflammation will subside, and your vision will return.
The Reverend nods, but his optimism is fading.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE
Several of the townsfolk, including Dorothy, Loren, Robert E and Grace gather in front of the clinic along with Sully, Brian and Matthew, their concern for the Reverend building.
DOROTHY
Bandage his eyes?
MATTHEW
Dr. Mike says there's not much else she can do. Said we have to just wait an' see.
Loren leans close to Dorothy, lowering his voice:
LOREN
Don't sound very encouragin'.
Dorothy shakes her head in commiseration. Loren turns to discover Brian looking at him, having heard what he said. Loren sees the worried look on his face and gives him a compassionate smile, trying to bolster him.
LOREN
But I'm sure everythin's gonna be all right.

+ON SULLY
as he and WOLF slip quietly away from the crowd (unseen). He walks up the street past the bare Christmas tree, on his way out of town as:

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE
Colleen brings in the bandages and scissors, and sets them in front of Mike. Mike picks up the bandages and begins carefully wrapping them around the Reverend's eyes.
MIKE
I'd like you to stay in bed the next few days. The less you move about, the better.
Mike looks to Colleen as she continues wrapping.
MIKE
Colleen, the herbs Cloud Dancing gave me are in my medical bag. Will you boil some water and steep them into a tea?
COLLEEN
Sure.
Colleen goes out as:

EXT. CLINIC - SAME TIME - DAY ONE
The townsfolk are still gathered, staring sadly up at the recovery room window, their spirits spiraling downward.
GRACE
Can't believe this is happenin'. And to the Reverend, of all people.
BRIAN
There's still a chance it's only temporary. Ma told him so.
DOROTHY
I'm sure she's right, Brian.
JAKE (O.S.)
Prob'ly just sayin' that to make him feel better.
Everyone turns around to discover Jake and Hank standing on the porch of the Gold Nugget.
DOROTHY
Now Jake, that's not so.
JAKE
(not harsh, just reminding them)
The man's gettin' worse, not better.
The crowd falls silent a moment, acknowledging this.
ROBERT E
Well... it's in God's hands now.
GRACE
Gonna need a miracle.
A few of the townspeople nod in agreement. Brian looks over at Grace, then turns to the rest of the people.
BRIAN
But isn't Christmas the time when miracles happen?
This single ray of hope quiets the crowd. They turn in silence, gazing back up at the recovery room window as:

EXT. WOODS - DAY ONE
CLOSE ON SULLY'S TOMAHAWK, cutting into the branch of an oak tree. Two more swings and the branch is cut free from the tree. Sully holds the branch, studying it a moment. Then, satisfied, he takes the branch and starts off as:

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE
Mike finishes wrapping the Reverend's eyes.
MIKE
There.
(stands)
I'll check on Colleen, see how she's coming with the tea.
Mike starts out, but the Reverend's voice stops her.
REVEREND
Michaela...[
MIKE
I'm still here.
REVEREND
(after a beat)
I'm... frightened.
Mike comes back, sitting beside him.
MIKE
I know.
(trying to sound optimistic)
But we mustn't give up hope.
REVEREND
No... we mustn't.
He reaches out. She takes his hand.
REVEREND
Will you pray for me?
MIKE
Of course.
The Reverend clutches her hand tightly, wanting to feel assurance. Mike hangs on, but in her eyes we see a growing doubt, and a weakening faith, as we:
FADE OUT
END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO
FADE IN:

EXT. STREET BY LIVERY - DAY TWO
A sullen Robert E works at the forge as Grace brings him a cup of coffee. He takes it, and they share a quiet look before Robert E sees Matthew passing by on horseback (coming from the direction of the train station).
ROBERT E
Matthew...
Matthew stops, dismounts as Robert E and Grace come over.
ROBERT E
Any news on the Reverend?
MATTHEW
No. Dr. Mike says we won't know anythin' 'til the bandages come off.
GRACE
He hardly said a word to me when I brought him breakfast earlier.
ROBERT E
The man's worried. Who wouldn't be?
Now something off screen (down by the General Store) catches Robert E's attention.
ROBERT E
Look at that...

+THEIR POV
of Brian, Colleen and several kids decorating the town Christmas tree. Some are busy making distinctive ornaments (designed to look like angels) while others hang them. They're starting at the bottom -- not much of the tree has been decorated yet.

+BACK TO ROBERT E, GRACE AND MATTHEW
taking in the sight. Matthew smiles.
MATTHEW
Brian wants to make sure the tree is decorated for the Reverend. He's been prayin' for him, believes God's gonna cure him.
Grace and Robert E fall silent a moment, moved by this.
GRACE
Faith of a child.
Robert E looks at her, then makes a decision. He takes off his gloves, tosses them aside and starts over to the tree. Grace and Matthew exchange a look, then Grace starts after Robert E. Matthew smiles, ties off his horse and also heads over, joining Robert E and Grace as they begin helping the children decorate the tree.

INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO
Andrew sets a medical text in front of Mike, who already has two books open on her desk.
ANDREW
I've found a few case histories of optic neuritis in this text.
(opening the book)
The outcomes are varied -- about thirty percent of the patients recovered fully, with no lasting effects.
MIKE
Are there any recommendations on treatments?
ANDREW
Some, but it's not clear whether the treatments are responsible for the cure, or simply just the course of time.
A LOUD BANGING on the clinic door interrupts the moment. Mike and Andrew exchange a look, then Mike stands and moves to the door, opening it to reveal:

+BRIAN
hammer in hand, in the middle of hanging a wreath on the clinic door.
BRIAN
Oh. Sorry, Ma. I was just hangin' this holly wreath.
Mike gives him a smile as she stares at the beautiful wreath.
MIKE
It's very pretty, Brian. Thank you.
BRIAN
I read that it "symbolizes the beauty of the Good News in a dark world."
Mike turns to him, touched by his hopeful attitude. It's now that something beyond Brian gets Mike's attention, and she steps out the door onto:

EXT. CLINIC PORCH - CONTINUOUS - DAY TWO
where she sees several townsfolk, including Colleen, Grace, Robert E, Matthew, Dorothy, and even Loren busily decorating the tree and several of the buildings in town.
Andrew and Brian step up beside Mike, who watches the town spring to life.
BRIAN
Everybody's helpin' to decorate the town. Even Mr. Bray's helpin' -- gave us four boxes of candles for the tree.
MIKE
That's wonderful.
Mike looks across the street, where Jake and Hank stand on the porch of the Gold Nugget, also watching the action, but not participating.
MIKE
Where are your decorations, gentlemen?
HANK
We been busy.
JAKE
I got two businesses to run now.
Dorothy hears this as she passes by with another holly wreath, on her way to the Gazette.
DOROTHY
(to the men)
I hope yours isn't the only place in town with no Christmas spirit.
(pointedly to Jake)
Now that's somethin' customers'll really notice.
She gives Mike a quick smile, then continues on as Jake and Hank exchange a look, considering this. They then start over to join the crowd, picking out decorations they can use for the Gold Nugget as:

+MIKE
turns back to Brian with a smile.
BRIAN
Well, I better get back to work.
Mike watches him go, her smile fading as she goes back into the clinic with Andrew to continue her work.

INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO
Mike, tired after a long, arduous day, enters to discover Colleen and Brian hard at work, making ornaments for the town tree. Colleen's making more angel ornaments, while Brian is working on the beginnings of a star.
COLLEEN
Hey, Ma.
MIKE
Hello, Colleen, Brian. Where's Sully?
COLLEEN
Out in the barn. He's busy makin' somethin'. Katie's asleep upstairs.
Mike nods and comes over, regarding their work.
MIKE
More Christmas ornaments?
She picks up one of the angel ornaments, admiring it.
COLLEEN
You like it?
Mike nods -- she does.
BRIAN
We wanna make sure the tree's filled with 'em.
MIKE
(to Brian)
And what are you making?
BRIAN
The star for the top. Gonna be a big one -- make sure it really sparkles.
Mike sits beside Brian. He stops working, turns to her.
BRIAN
I've been thinkin' about when I went blind... an' I remember how great it was to get my sight back in time to see the schoolhouse built.
(resumes working)
So I wanna make sure the tree is finished by the time the Reverend gets his bandages off...
(beat, smiles)
Give him somethin' to look forward to.
Mike watches Brian as he continues to work, wishing she could share his unwavering optimism.

INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT TWO
It's late -- the room is dark. Sully wakes to find Mike not in the bed. He looks over to discover her sitting in a chair by the crib, watching Katie sleep, a sad, troubled look on her face. After a quiet moment:
SULLY
Michaela?
Mike turns to Sully as he sits up in bed.
MIKE
I remember when the Reverend christened Katie. And I remember when he married us.
(beat)
And he's done so many wonderful things for the people of this town. I can't help but wonder why this had to happen. Especially now, at Christmas?
SULLY
Bad things happen, Michaela. And sometimes they happen to good people.
MIKE
I know...
She comes over, sits on the bed beside him, her weariness showing.
MIKE
As a doctor, I know it all too well -- children getting sick, people dying suddenly...
(beat)
I try to accept that, I try to live with it. But still... with all the pain and suffering I see...
Mike pauses a moment, her voice quieting.
MIKE
I suppose part of me will never understand why that must be.
Sully reaches out and puts his arm around her, pulling her close to him. She leans into his embrace, still deep in troubled thought.

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - MORNING - DAY THREE
CLOSE ON THE OPHTHALMOSCOPE, sitting on the bedstand.
PAN TO THE REVEREND, asleep in bed as early morning light streams through the curtains. After a beat, cigar smoke drifts INTO FRAME, waking him, and making him cough as we PULL BACK TO REVEAL:
Hank, sitting in a chair next to the bed.
HANK
'Bout time you woke up.
REVEREND
(surprised)
Hank?
HANK
How you feelin'?
REVEREND
All right, I guess.
He coughs again from the cigar smoke. Hank puts out the cigar, then stands and moves to the window, opening it. He looks out the window, smiles.
HANK
Everybody's been decoratin' the town, talkin' 'bout makin' it the best Christmas ever.
(looks back at the Reverend)
Who knows, might even get snow this year.
The Reverend's still having trouble understanding why Hank has come to visit. Hank walks back around to the chair and sits. After a quiet beat:
HANK
Been a long time since I been inside the church on a Sunday...
(sheepish)
...'cept for that time when I tried to take it away from you.
The Reverend can't help but smile at this.
HANK
(another beat)
Never been much of a prayin' man.
Hank looks at the Reverend, his voice growing very sincere.
HANK
But this time I'm gonna make an exception.
REVEREND
(very moved)
Thank you, Hank.
Hank nods, feeling for the Reverend -- and wishing he could do more -- as he goes out.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY THREE
Mike comes around the corner between the clinic and Gazette, carrying a tray of food for the Reverend. But just as she's about to go in the door, something catches her eye:

+MIKE'S POV
of Brian and a few kids continuing to decorate the tree. It's almost finished, with dozens of angel ornaments dangling from the branches. Brian is up on a ladder, decorating the top part of the tree.

+BACK TO MIKE
as she starts over, gazing up at the tree.
MIKE
Brian, the tree is absolutely beautiful.
Brian stops working, turns to her.
BRIAN
Almost done. Only thing left is the star. But I'm gonna let the Reverend put that up.
MIKE
I'm sure he'd like that.
BRIAN
Wait 'til you see it at night, when all the candles are lit. Gonna look just like the first Christmas, with the star in the sky, and the angels descendin' to earth.
(looks at the angels, smiles)
A whole host of 'em.
Mike is moved by this, swept up in the sight. Grace hurries over from the cafe, carrying a piece of pie on a plate.
GRACE
Dr. Mike!
Mike turns to Grace, who sets the pie on the tray Mike's carrying.
GRACE
Forgot to give this to you. Pecan pie for the Reverend. Fresh outta the oven.
MIKE
Thank you, Grace.
Grace takes in the tree with a smile.
GRACE
Tree looks mighty fine, Brian.
BRIAN
Thanks.
GRACE
(to Mike)
Tomorrow's the big day? The bandages come off?
MIKE
That's right.
GRACE
I'm gonna organize a prayer meetin' in the mornin', at the church.
(smiles with conviction)
He's gonna see again, Dr. Mike. That's what God's been up to...
(starts back to cafe)
Gettin' ready to give us our own Christmas miracle.
Grace heads back to the cafe as Mike turns back to the tree, watching Brian hang the final angel.

INT. BARN - NIGHT THREE
Mike enters to find Sully (with Wolf nearby) hard at work, carving the oak branch (the one he cut earlier) into a walking stick. It's mostly finished -- he's now working on the final details.
MIKE
Brian's finished the star for the tree. He wants to show it to you.
SULLY
Sure. Be right in.
MIKE
What're you making?
SULLY
A walkin' stick.
Mike gives him a troubled look -- she knows for whom he's making it.
MIKE
Sully, in the majority of cases, there's at least partial restoration of sight.
SULLY
But in some cases there isn't.
MIKE
We can't just assume the worst --
SULLY
No, but we can be ready for it. Just in case.
BRIAN (O.S.)
No.
Mike and Sully look over to see Brian standing in the doorway, holding his now completed star, having overheard their conversation.
BRIAN
The Reverend's gonna get better, I know it.
(coming over)
He's always sayin' in church how God tests us. That's why we can't give up. We gotta believe, we gotta show God we have faith.
Mike and Sully exchange a quiet look. Mike looks back at Brian, sees the utter conviction in his eyes. After a beat:
MIKE
You're right, Brian. We must have faith.
Mike turns to Sully, sees the uneasy look in his eyes. He looks back down at the walking stick... then continues working on it as we:
DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CHURCH - ESTABLISHING - MORNING - DAY FOUR
A beautiful, spectacular morning. The church (with holly wreath on front door) almost glows in the early morning sunshine.
ROBERT E (V.O.)
I know you got a special plan for the Reverend, Lord...

INT. CHURCH - MORNING - DAY FOUR
The prayer meeting is in progress. The pews have been pushed aside -- the group stands in a tight circle, holding hands. Among them are Robert E, Dorothy, Loren, Jake, Colleen, Mike, Brian and Grace.
ROBERT E
...An' I know you're gonna make him well again.
As Robert E finishes, Dorothy continues the prayer:
DOROTHY
Please, God, help the Reverend regain his sight. Touch him with your healin' hand.
Dorothy looks to Loren, who continues:
LOREN
I know you done a lotta miracles... but I'm hopin' you can find it in your heart to give us just one more...
Now Jake:
JAKE
And let him know you ain't forgotten him...
Jake quiets, and Colleen picks up the prayer:
COLLEEN
The Reverend's a good person. He's always doin' what's right, helpin' others...
Colleen looks to Mike, who's standing next to her. Mike continues:
MIKE
He means a lot to this town. He's not just our Reverend... he's our dear friend...
Beside Mike is Brian, offering the final, heart-felt plea:
BRIAN
He don't deserve this, God. An' I know you know that. So I know you'll help him see again.
Brian quiets, and Grace finishes the prayer:
GRACE
Thank you for hearin' our prayers, oh Lord.

+NEW ANGLE - PUSHING IN ON MIKE
GRACE (O.S.)
In Jesus' name, Amen.
As everyone says "Amen," Mike opens her eyes... and in them, we see hope.
MIKE
Amen.
CUT TO:

EXT. STREET NEAR CLINIC - DAY FOUR
The townsfolk from the prayer meeting, joined by other townsfolk along the way, follow Mike as she makes her way to the clinic. Brian walks beside her, holding the Christmas star.
Mike moves with purpose, wanting to believe with all her might that the Reverend will see again. The townsfolk are excited -- they know he will.
Mike, Colleen and Brian go into the clinic, leaving the townsfolk to congregate out front.

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR
Colleen hands Mike the scissors. Andrew and Brian (still holding the star) watch from nearby as Mike turns to the Reverend, who waits expectantly, his expression revealing a strengthening faith.
MIKE
Are you ready?
REVEREND
Yes.
Mike takes a settling breath, then raises the scissors and begins cutting the bandages.

EXT. CLINIC - DAY FOUR
The hopeful crowd (which now includes Matthew and Hank) watches the recovery room window, waiting for the impending good news.

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR
Mike finishes cutting the bandages. She removes them from the Reverend's eyes, which remain shut. Mike, Andrew, Colleen and Brian wait with anticipation as:

+THE REVEREND
slowly opens his eyes. A moment passes... and then the Reverend's expression drains.

REVEREND
No...
MIKE
Reverend?
Mike raises her hand in front of the Reverend's face, moving it to the side to test his vision. But this time, the Reverend's eyes don't respond.
REVEREND
I can't see anythin'.

+CLOSE ON MIKE
reacting in stunned disbelief as we:
FADE OUT
END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE
FADE IN:

EXT. CLINIC - DAY FOUR
A clearly shaken Mike stands in front of the clinic, facing the equally stunned crowd.
LOREN
What d'you mean, it's worse?
GRACE
How could this happen?
MIKE
(trying to figure it out herself)
I... I don't know. The atrophy has progressed. I was hoping to at least see some regeneration...
ROBERT E
Thought you said it was only gonna be temporary.
Mike looks at them, struggling to find an answer. Andrew steps in to help out:
ANDREW
It's true, in most cases it is temporary. But there are some instances when the condition doesn't reverse itself.
As Andrew and the crowd continue their discussion, Mike notices something up the street:

+HER POV
of Sully, standing at the corner, watching.
DOROTHY (O.S.)
You mean the Reverend's gonna stay blind?
ANDREW (O.S.)
Not necessarily...

+BACK TO MIKE
her spirits continuing to sink.
ANDREW
It's still somewhat early --
JAKE
Why don't you just admit it? He's gone blind.
(beat, to the crowd)
Lotta good all our prayin' did.
This quiets the crowd, hitting them hard. Jake heads off toward the barbershop, passing a stunned and silent Hank as:
Mike turns to Brian, who stands holding his star. He looks devastated, trying to understand what's happened... and now his disappointment turns to anger. He slams the star against a post, destroying it, before running off up the street.
MIKE
Brian!
But he keeps running. Sully tries to stop him as he runs past.
SULLY
Brian, hold on --
BRIAN
Leave me alone!
He disappears around the corner. Sully steps over and picks up the smashed star. He looks sadly back at Mike, who just stands there. Like everyone else, she too is struggling to understand what has happened... and why.

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR
Mike examines the Reverend's eyes with the ophthalmoscope. The Reverend looks increasingly despondent, giving up all hope.
MIKE
I'd like to continue with the herbs... and I'll examine you daily for signs of regeneration.
The Reverend says nothing. Mike lowers the ophthalmoscope, struggling very hard to be optimistic (she's grasping at straws here -- she's not sure he'll get better, but she's still refusing to accept the alternative).
MIKE
I won't give up, Reverend. I've wired several additional specialists. I'll keep searching until I find a way to get your sight back.
A KNOCK at the door breaks the moment. Mike looks over to see Loren standing in the doorway. His expression is one of compassion and understanding.
MIKE
Loren...
The Reverend reacts, turns toward Loren (the direction from which the sound of the knock came).
LOREN
'Afternoon, Reverend. Dr. Mike.
Loren comes in, steps over to the Reverend. Mike moves aside, putting away the ophthalmoscope.
LOREN
I want you to know that if you'd like, you can come live in Dorothy's old room in the store.
REVEREND
Loren, you don't have to --
LOREN
I know I don't. I wanna. See, she helped me get better when I was sick, an' I was thinkin' I'd do the same for you.
The Reverend looks down, fighting the tears that are forming in his eyes. Loren sits on the edge of the bed.
LOREN
There now... it's gonna be all right. You're still with us -- you're still our Reverend.
REVEREND
(after a beat)
How can I be your Reverend if I can't see the people in my church?
(struggling)
How can I lead them to God when I can't even read the Bible?
Loren has no answer. He looks over at Mike, who feels the weight of the Reverend's sadness.

EXT. STREET - DAY FOUR
Andrew walks down the street with Mike (from the direction of the train station) as she reads a telegram she's just received.
MIKE
It's from Dr. Gerald Hall, in New York. He's treated several patients with optic neuritis.
Mike quiets a moment as she reads. Andrew leans in.
ANDREW
What does he say?
MIKE
According to the information I gave him, he thinks the Reverend might be one of the few whose vision is not restored.
ANDREW
Does he recommend any treatments?
Mike shakes her head "no." They share a look of frustration before:
MATTHEW (O.S.)
Dr. Mike...
Mike and Andrew look over at Matthew, who comes over from the Sheriff's Office.
MATTHEW
Some of the folks in town been wonderin' about tomorrow's Christmas service... whether or not there's gonna be one.
Mike quiets a moment, thinking about this.
MIKE
(sadly)
I doubt it.
MATTHEW
They ain't in much of a mood to celebrate.
Mike turns, looking off at something down the street:

+THEIR POV
of the town Christmas tree, fully decorated now, except for the star at the top.

+BACK TO SCENE
as Mike continues to gaze up at the tree, her voice quieting:
MIKE
I can understand why.
Off Mike's sad expression...

INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS)- DAY FOUR
Sully steps up, holding the walking stick he made, and pauses in the doorway, watching as Mike gives the Reverend some tea.
MIKE
Sip slowly, it's hot.
REVEREND
If it's all right with you, I'd like to stop takin' the herbs.
MIKE
They have properties that are known to reduce inflammation. I think it's best if you --
REVEREND
They're not workin'.
Sully steps into the room.
SULLY
Listen to her, Reverend. Gotta give it some time.
Mike and the Reverend turn to Sully. Mike takes the cup of tea away as Sully reaches out, takes the Reverend's hand.
SULLY
Here... made somethin' for you.
Sully places the walking stick in the Reverend's hand.
REVEREND
What is it?
SULLY
Walkin' stick. Hold it out in front of you, an' you can feel your way around.
The Reverend holds the stick in silence for a moment.
MIKE
You can use it tomorrow, when you come to the Christmas service.
The Reverend says nothing for a moment. Mike and Sully exchange a look of concern.
REVEREND
Won't be goin' to the Christmas service.
He tries to hand the stick back to Sully.
REVEREND
Thank you, Sully. But I won't be needin' it.
Sully doesn't take the stick.
MIKE
(to the Reverend)
Reverend, he's only trying to help you --
REVEREND
(sudden, sharp)
I don't want it!
He throws the stick on the floor. As quickly as his anger appeared, it recedes. He falls silent, turning away from them.
Sully looks at Mike, then reaches down and picks up the walking stick. He starts out, but pauses at the door to lean the stick against the wall. He gives Mike another look, then goes out, leaving the stick behind.
Mike turns back to the Reverend, who stares sullenly into space, fighting tears. Mike feels for him, desperately wants to help him, but all she can do is just watch and wait in helpless frustration.

INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT FOUR
Mike, looking completely exhausted, comes in, carrying a few medical texts. She dumps the books on the table, along with her medical bag, then hangs up her coat. That's when she notices it:
Brian's smashed star, sitting on a chair near the door. Mike picks it up and looks at it as Sully comes downstairs. He sees Mike and comes over.
SULLY
Kids're all asleep.
Mike nods, continues to look at the star.
SULLY
Brian was angry at God for not listenin' to his prayers.
MIKE
I know how he feels.
Mike sets the star down. She moves to the table and sits, absently opening the medical texts. But she doesn't look at them -- she's dwelling on something else:
MIKE
I picked up our Bible today. I started looking through it... searching for some assurance... some answers.
(looks up at him)
All I found was a verse that said all things work together for good for those who love God.
She shakes her head, her frustration and exhaustion now giving way to anger.
MIKE
But I don't see what good can come of this. One of God's most loyal servants, struck blind without warning... made to suffer.
SULLY
We can't always be lookin' to find a reason --
Mike closes the books and shoves them aside.
MIKE
Why not?
(her anger building)
Is this the work of a loving father? Would you purposefully harm Katie or Brian and then tell them it's all for the best? No. A father who truly loves us would not allow this to happen!
Mike falls silent a moment, her anger waning. Sully crouches in front of her, takes her hands in his. She looks at him.
MIKE
I want to believe, Sully. I went to that prayer meeting with faith.
SULLY
Maybe you were prayin' for the wrong thing.
Mike quiets, confused by this.
SULLY
Maybe the miracle ain't in the healin', but in findin' the strength to accept what happened.
This hits Mike hard. She absorbs it in thoughtful silence, starting to understand...
SULLY
Sometimes we gotta stop askin' "Why me?" and start askin', "What am I gonna do about it?"
Mike looks at him, tears forming in her eyes -- along with the beginnings of resolve -- as we:
CUT TO:

EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT FOUR
It's very late -- the town is deserted as Mike makes her way across the bridge, heading for the church. She arrives at the steps and pauses, as something catches her eye:

+INSERT - A HOLLY WREATH
hanging on the front door.

+BACK TO MIKE
as she regards it a moment, remembering what Brian told her earlier. After a beat, she takes a deep breath and goes quietly in.

INT. CHURCH - NIGHT FOUR
Moonlight streams in through the windows as Mike comes into the darkened church. She walks silently down the aisle, arriving at a front pew, where she sits, deep in thought. She looks up at the pulpit.
Then she kneels, folding her hands in front of her and bowing her head as she offers her prayer:
MIKE
I've doubted you... I've questioned you, demanded to know why.
(beat)
But now I come to you with a new prayer... to show me how to help the Reverend find the strength to keep going...
She looks up at the cross again.
MIKE
And to help me find that strength as well... no matter what lies ahead.
FADE OUT
END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR
FADE IN:

EXT. HOMESTEAD - ESTABLISHING - MORNING - DAY FIVE (STOCK)

INT. HOMESTEAD - MORNING - DAY FIVE
A fire roars in the fireplace as Brian and Colleen come downstairs. They pause at the foot of the stairs when they discover:
Mike and Sully, sitting at the dinner table, putting the finishing touches (painting) on a brand new star for the Christmas tree.
Mike sees the kids and smiles.
MIKE
Well, good morning. You're just in time -- we're almost finished with the star.
Brian comes over and watches them paint. He's still visibly upset.
COLLEEN
It's beautiful.
MIKE
Thank you, Colleen.
But Brian is silent. Mike and Sully share a quiet look, then Mike turns back to Brian.
MIKE
I was thinking about what you said the other day, about not giving up. And you were right.
Brian looks at her, not sure what she means by this.
MIKE
What's happened to the Reverend is terrible. But it will be even worse if we don't stand by him, and help him to face it.
SULLY
That's why we're makin' the star. Wanna show him we're not givin' up -- we believe in him, no matter what happens.
Mike finishes painting, sets down her brush.
MIKE
There. Now to make it sparkle.
Sully opens a packet of ground pyrite, which he and Mike sprinkle on the star. Mike looks at Brian as she works, gently appealing to him:
MIKE
The Reverend needs our help, Brian. Now more than ever.
Mike finishes sprinkling the pyrite.
Off Brian, gazing quietly at the now glittering star...

EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF GENERAL STORE - DAY FIVE
Loren unlocks the front door of the store and turns around the "Closed" sign in the window. He opens the door, then suddenly stops, as something out in the street catches his attention.

+AT THE LIVERY
Robert E and Grace also see what Loren sees, and they start toward the store.

+AT THE BARBERSHOP
Jake comes out -- he sees it too.

+AT THE GAZETTE
Dorothy is already on her way over, along with Hank, who's come out of the Gold Nugget. Together they walk toward the center of town, joining the other townsfolk as they watch:

+MIKE
who lifts the star from the back of the wagon. Colleen stands beside her, holding Katie. Mike hands the star over to Matthew, who steps up on the ladder and hands the star to Sully, who stands about halfway up.
Sully then hands the star up to Brian, who stands at the top of the ladder. He takes the star and -- in full view of gathering townsfolk -- places it at the top of the Christmas tree.
Mike turns to the townsfolk as they move closer, gazing up at the tree.
MIKE
Merry Christmas, everyone.
The folks look at her, a bit confused. Mike turns to Grace.
MIKE
Grace, I was wondering if you would sing at the service tonight.
Grace and the other townsfolk react to this with even more confusion.
GRACE
The service?
ROBERT E
Thought there wasn't gonna be one.
Dorothy steps closer to Mike.
DOROTHY
Michaela, you told us the Reverend wasn't gonna come.
MIKE
I'm hoping we can change his mind.
JAKE
I don't think so. I doubt if he'll ever go back to the church.
Mike looks at the townsfolk, her voice kindly imploring:
MIKE
Then it's up to us to help him find his way.
The townsfolk quiet, giving this some thought as we slowly:
DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. STREET - NIGHT FIVE
The candles on the tree are now lit, making the angel ornaments flicker and glow. The star at the top glistens in the night as on the street, townsfolk make their way toward the church.

EXT. CLINIC BALCONY - SAME TIME - NIGHT FIVE
The Reverend sits alone in the cold night air, a blanket wrapped around him.
MIKE(O.S.)
Reverend?
Mike steps out onto the balcony, sees the Reverend. She steps over to him, her voice softening.
MIKE
I just wanted to let you know that the town is still going to have a Christmas service tonight. We'd love it if you would be with us.
REVEREND
I don't think so.
MIKE
(gently)
You can't live your life like this, Reverend. You have to start looking ahead, thinking about what you're going to do --
REVEREND
I have been thinkin'. It's all I been doin' for days now.
(beat)
There's a reason this happened to me. I figure it's a punishment for my early way of life. The gamblin', drinkin' --
MIKE
No, it isn't.
She sits in a chair facing him.
MIKE
A wise man told me something recently. He said that God doesn't punish us. He only shows us in which direction we need to go.
The Reverend quiets at this.
MIKE
Where one path ends, another begins.
These words give the Reverend pause, making him think. Mike notices this. She looks out toward the street, at the tree glistening in the night.
MIKE
Brian was hoping to give you a Christmas present. He and the people from the town made wonderful ornaments for the tree. And for the top he made a beautiful, shining star.
(looks back at the Reverend)
But when the bandages came off and your sight didn't return, he became angry at God, and destroyed the star.
The thought of Brian losing faith hits the Reverend hard.
REVEREND
Brian...?
The Reverend looks down sadly. After a quiet moment:
REVEREND
Wish I coulda seen it.
MIKE
We made a new star. And Brian placed it at the top of the tree... to show you he believes in you... and wants to help you in any way he can.
Mike reaches out, takes his hand.
MIKE
We all do.
The Reverend is deeply touched by this. Mike watches him intently.
REVEREND
(after a beat)
What's it look like? The tree?
Mike looks over at the tree and begins to describe it.
MIKE
It's tall and strong... overflowing with shimmering candles...
The Reverend listens, mesmerized, visualizing in his mind what Mike relays.
MIKE
The star at the top is glowing in the night. And beneath it, dozens of sparkling angels, descending to earth.
(smiles)
A "whole host of them."
(looks back at the tree)
It really is quite beautiful.
REVEREND
(beat, then softly)
I know...
Mike turns to him, sees the tears forming in his eyes.
REVEREND
I can see it.
Mike smiles, gently squeezing the Reverend's hand as SOFT PIANO MUSIC fades in, carrying us to:

EXT. CHURCH - ESTABLISHING - NIGHT FIVE
Wagons and carriages are parked outside. Lamps glow inside. Over this we hear GRACE singing:
  GRACE (V.O.)
  Fall on your knees
  Oh hear the angel voices...

INT. CHURCH - NIGHT FIVE
The townsfolk have gathered for the Christmas service, listening as Grace sings. Brian accompanies her on the piano. Among the congregation are Sully, Matthew, Colleen (with Katie asleep in her carriage), Loren, Dorothy, Robert E, Andrew, Jake and Hank.
Sully glances back at the doorway, looking for Mike and the Reverend, who are noticeably absent.
  GRACE
  Oh night divine
  Oh night when Christ was born
  Oh night divine
  Oh night divine.
Grace returns to her seat as Brian stands and steps over to the pulpit.
BRIAN
(opens Bible)
The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 8 through 14:
(reads)
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

+ON THE CONGREGATION (DIFFERENT ANGLES)
listening as Brian continues to read. They're trying to enjoy the service, but can't help feel a heavy sadness, wishing the Reverend were here with them.
BRIAN (O.S.)
"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."

+BACK TO BRIAN
BRIAN
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you --
Brian stops short as FOOTSTEPS are heard. The congregation turns to the source of the sound:

+THE DOORWAY
where the Reverend and Mike have come in. The Reverend is using the walking stick Sully gave him to guide him.
The room falls silent as he hesitates -- this a very difficult moment for him. But then he takes a deep breath... and begins walking down the aisle.
Mike follows behind him, sharing a smile with Sully as the Reverend slowly makes his way to the front, where Brian steps over to help him up to the pulpit. As Brian takes the Reverend's arm:
REVEREND
Brian, is that you?
BRIAN
Yes, Reverend.
REVEREND
(after a beat)
You mind if I continue the readin'?
Brian, moved, looks to Mike and Sully, then sets the Bible on the pulpit.
BRIAN
Sure.
Brian goes to join Mike and Sully as the Reverend turns to face the congregation. He closes the Bible, then continues the reading from memory:
REVEREND
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddlin' clothes, lyin' in a manger."
The Reverend pauses a beat, getting to his favorite part:
REVEREND
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praisin' God, and sayin', Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will..."
He suddenly stops short, as if something has caught his attention. The congregation reacts, concerned.
MIKE
Reverend? What's wrong?
REVEREND
Listen...
The room falls silent, as everyone listens. But not a sound is heard.

+CLOSE ON THE REVEREND
as he smiles.
REVEREND
It's snowin'.

+ON THE CONGREGATION
reacting -- what? Loren, seated near a window, pulls aside the curtains and looks out.
LOREN
Would you look at that! It is! It's snowin'!
As everyone jumps to their feet:
CUT TO:

EXT. CHURCH - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT FIVE
The door opens, and the Reverend comes out, guided by Mike and Sully, and followed by the rest of the congregation. (This tableau is very similar to the one inside the snowdome we saw earlier).
Together they step out into the falling snow, savoring this joyous moment. Mike and Sully hug as Brian and Colleen spin around, joining the townsfolk in the growing celebration.
The Reverend looks toward the sky and smiles, feeling the falling snow against his face on this glorious, miraculous night as we PULL UP AND AWAY and:
FADE OUT
END OF ACT FOUR




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