Samuelle couldn’t keep still. Something was definitely different about today but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what. All night long the workshop had been a bustling with excitement and hurried whispers floated round the room like dandelion seeds. The Prayer Sorters were busier than normal; working with steady calm, they quickly distributed the sack loads of new arrivals into tiny jars, ready to be sent Upstairs whilst reports from the Guardians were littering the floor near to the fax machine. Outside, the air seemed to vibrate; a shimmering tremble of growing magic. Samuelle wriggled once again in his seat. Grasping one of his wings in both hands, he carefully stroked and smoothed his feathers, admiring the gold tint that caught the light. As a new apprentice, he was still waiting for his Job. He knew it wouldn’t be long because he had worked hard at his classes and everyone had been pleased with him. Still, he hoped he’d get told what his assignment was soon because sitting still really wasn’t his strong point.
Suddenly the door opened and hush fell over the shop floor. Filling the doorway stood Gabriel, light flooding away from him to settle like a blanket in the corners of the room. Samuelle watched as he spoke quietly to the Floor Manager, catching the words “arrived” and “it is time.” Samuelle let go of his wing and looked around the room. Everyone was smiling and nudging each other; even the unrelenting bleep of the fax machine paused for a moment. Just what exactly was happening? Samuelle looked back at the door and realised with a start that Gabriel was looking straight at him.
“Come, young one,” Gabriel said and gestured Samuelle towards him. Samuelle slid quickly off his stool and walked towards Gabriel. As he passed, the Floor Manager patted him on the arm and smiled at him.
“Make me proud,” he whispered in Samuelle’s ear.
Samuelle followed Gabriel into a brightly lit room and sat in the chair Gabriel pointed out to him. Unlike the workshop, this room was quiet. Stars hung steadily in the corners like lanterns and the air felt cool against Samuelle’s face.
“Samuelle,” Gabriel began to speak. “God knows you well. From the very beginnings, he has expected much of you. Are you now ready for your assignment?”
Samuelle’s heart began to tremble in his chest.
“I am,” he answered solemnly.
Gabrielle took his small hands in his own.
“Tonight Samuelle,” he said, “a child is to be born. He will be no ordinary child; this child is to bring a new age for all mankind. He is God’s own son.”
“God’s own son?” Samuelle gasped. “Born tonight? But was has this got to do with me?”
“You are to be his Guardian Angel,” Gabriel answered. “God has asked that it be you.”
For a moment Samuelle could not speak. Gabriel continued.
“It is an honoured task but it will not be easy,” he said. “You must watch this child and ensure he learns the ways of his Father. In time, he will meet with hatred as well as love; you must keep him strong. He will lead many people; you must help him listen as well as command. He will suffer and die because this is God’s will; you must help him to keep his courage and in his moments of doubt, hold him tight. In you, Samuelle, God has placed his trust. Do you accept?”
“I do,” Samuelle whispered. “I do.”
In a tiny stable, far away from everyone, a child slipped quietly into the world. As his mother wrapped him tight in his swaddling clothes and laid him amongst the straw, one little angel crept to his side and grasped hold of his tiny hand.
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