Mike sighed heavily. In his 40 years as a priest, he thought he had seen it all. Hell, he was even the first bishop to be stationed off-planet, namely on Gallifrey. Maybe that was the problem. He'd seen it all.
Mike lit two purple candles, then the rose candle for Gaudete Sunday. Over half-way through Advent, he thought. He was certain that he was over half-way through his brief span of years. Sighing again, he tried to pray.
Mike sighed again as he rose from his knees. He turned to see the Doctor leaning against the door frame. "Hi, Mike," the Time Lord said.
"Oh, hi." Said Mike wearily.
"Wondered if you were up for a little jaunt," the Doctor asked his old friend.
"Actually, I was more in the mood for a beer and a video."
"Well... I could join you for that, I suppose," the Doctor said. "On the other hand, the TARDIS is powered up and ready to go." The Doctor looked eager as a small kid at Christmas. Mike hated him momentarily.
Mike deigned not to answer. He huffed and grumped his way down the hall to his rooms. The Doctor fell in alongside him.
"Margaret was right."
"You're in a snit."
Mike didn't answer.
"Want to talk?"
"That's supposed to be my line."
"So, who listens to the priest when he's down and needs to talk?"
Mike stopped. He finally faced his friend squarely. "I'm tired, Doctor. Old and tired. I doubt you'd understand."
The Doctor only raised his eyebrows.
"Ok, ok - I know, nine hundred and how-many years old and all that." Mike shook his head. "That's about how old I feel right now." The Doctor listened, and Mike went on. "I don't know where I'm going to find the umph I need to get through the season this time. It's all hassle and no fun. My music ministry is deep into their usual arguments over Midnight Mass, and I still have Christmas greetings to send back home, and Lord only knows what I'll do for a homily this week..."
"I bet the Lord DOES know..." the Doctor allowed softly.
"Heretic!" the old priest snorted. "You don't even believe in Him."
"All the same," the Doctor said, "I think you need a trip. You need to get away from all of this, and find the magic again, and I know just the place."
"I refuse to do a Victorian Christmas. It may seem quaint, but all I see are the poor beggars out there and the children working themselves into early deaths in the..."
"Not Victorian England, I promise." The Doctor took his elbow, steering him towards the TARDIS, which he had parked at the end of this corridor.
"How did you get the permission to park it here?" Mike asked.
"Who says I have permission?" The Doctor scanned the corridor and gave Mike a conspiratory wink. "Hurry up!" Like two errant schoolboys, they were soon on their way.
Mike lounged on the jump seat while the Doctor worked the controls. The priest's legs were crossed and his hands were behind his head. It did feel good to get away, at that. Once the materialization cycle died down, the Doctor checked his monitor, smiling in the light from the various read-outs, and mysteriously shut down the display before Mike could study it.
"Of course you're familiar with the rules about fixed points in history and all that."
Mike glared at him. After all their trips together, he should know the rules!
"Well, it's just that this is a VERY fixed point. I'm sure you wouldn't want to mess with this day in history. We'll stay right by the TARDIS. Just watch for a bit, then leave. No wandering off."
Mike folded his arms about his chest. "So, Mr. Time Lord, where, exactly, are we?"
"Earth. Year of Our Lord... well, the Year of Our Lord, actually."
Mike cocked his eyebrow at the Doctor, who was tossing him a warm coat. He shrugged into it and came down the ramp towards the TARDIS doors. The Doctor stood by the door, his hand on the handle. "Welcome to Christmas, Mike," he said in a soft voice.
Mike emerged into what he first took for moonlight. As his eyes adjusted, he saw the huge star shining in the firmament - a fantastic black velvet of pre-industrial Earth sky dusted with more stars than Mike imagined were ever visible. His eyes were drawn to the huge star... a giant, blazing beacon... it couldn't be!
"Doctor... is that?"
"Yep. The Star... shining over Bethlehem. Of course, technically speaking, it's not so much a star as an unusual conjunction of planets..."
The Doctor turned his gaze from the celestial splendor to look at his friend. Tears were beginning to slip across the weathered cheeks. "Where? Where are we?" Mike asked.
The Doctor surveyed the rocky hilltop. "Far enough to be safe. Close enough to have a good view. Quite a few kilometers out to the east, actually. We won't be seen."
Mike didn't care how far to the east they were. Somewhere out there, in a stable, was the reason for his vocation, his faith, and his very life. Slowly, Mike fell to his knees. He murmured, "For unto us, in the city of David, is born this day a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord."
For many moments, the two, one from Earth, one from Gallifrey, remained silent in the presence of the ancient light. Then, a wondering smile spread slowly across the Time Lord's face. "Hear that?" he whispered.
Mike's face turned up to the sky, but he saw only stars. The music, though, filled his very soul. A moment later, he laughed bitterly. "That damn TARDIS translation circuit! I'd like to hear the angels sing in something other than American English!"
"Just a mo," said the Doctor, adjusting something on his sonic. "Better now?"
"Not a bit, although some of them are singing in old Church Latin now." The old priest shook his head. Then he noticed the Doctor sinking to his knees beside him.
"That's not English, Mike," he said, his voice barely audible. Mike took in the look of shock and fear on the Doctor's face. "I'm hearing it in Gallifreyan..."
Mike smiled. "Welcome to Christmas, Doctor!"
Bathed in the light of the Christmas Star, the two old friends knelt in awe of the most wonderful night in Earth's history.