Snow falls on Christmas Eve for the first time in seven years and Joe Kelly thinks his
moment has finally come. It’s not just the weather; a few weeks earlier, he received the
stunning word that a certain movie star’s production company offered to option his first,
forgotten novel. The evidence of a dream has come true, in the form of a fat check, has just
arrived.
    Joe has managed to keep the amazing news secret from his wife Mariel and their two
children, but as night falls, he’s ready to spring the surprise, remake his standing as a
hopeless dreamer, revive his marriage, and change their lives forever. The final piece of his
happy plan is the purchase of a rare pendant, an antique called an Epiphany Star that has a
special meaning for Mariel but that he could never afford.
    Meanwhile, across town, Nicole Weaver is praying that Christmas will arrive without any
trouble for her and her daughter Malikah from the crazed mother of Terry, the boyfriend
she met in rehab. At the same time, Franklin Callum, the reverend of a storefront church,
heads out on a mission to transport souls who have lost their way in the cold and dark to
shelter.
    Joe brings the Epiphany Star home to begin the celebration of his good luck and the
holiday. That luck changes in a raw shock when he gets there and finds Mariel in the lurid
embrace of another man. Devastated in what was going to be a moment of glory, he escapes
the house and sets out on a long night’s journey.
    At his first stop, a lonely tavern, he encounters a woman he knew in high school. She
invites him back to her apartment. The heat rises and he is tempted to stay when an odd
happenstance changes his mind and he leaves her to venture on. At the house across town, a
furious argument ends with Terry’s mother casting Nicole and Malikah out into the frigid
night.
     Joe gets lost, travels down the wrong street, and is accosted by two muggers. It’s
turning mean when Reverend Callum appears to interrupt the crime and carry Joe back to
his humble church where he finds quiet sanctuary − until the phone rings, that is, and the
tale takes another turn. It’s Nicole calling, desperate for help.
     Joe drives the church van to collect her and Malikah, but the rescue is complicated
when Joe gets into a scuffle with Terry, pouring his fury over his wife’s betrayal on the sick
wreck of a junkie. He carries the mother and child to a shelter, but when he sees what a
bad, sad scene it is, insists they leave with him. They arrive back at the church to find that
the reverend is not pleased. He warns Joe that he’s now responsible for mother and child.
After a bit of soul-searching, Joe decides to take them – and the reverend – to his house for
Christmas morning.
    They’ve just begun this last leg of the night’s journey when violence erupts, and Joe,
Reverend Callum, Nicole, and Janelle are bound together in a way none of them ever
imagined.
BETHLEHEM
A Screenplay by David Fulmer

SYNOPSIS