Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Story 2

Matthew 2:1-12

On Christmas day we heard a new story about the shepherds. Here’s Part Two.

‘Daddy’, said the boy. ‘What happened to my little brother?’ This is his story.

Long, long ago, before , when December 25th was just a date like any other, wise men from the east, who studied the stars, came to visit the infant Jesus. It wasn’t now it was then; it wasn’t here it was there. Jesus wasn’t a baby anymore but a toddler. He toddled, and often fell over. He cried when he fell. He sometimes managed to wee in the right place. And sometimes he missed.

The wise men were quite clever. They knew a thing or two about alchemy, perfumery and astrology; in fact they liked any interest with a long unpronounceable name. And drugs. Anyone want to buy some myrrh?

‘Shall we follow that star?’ said the first one.
‘Are you sure that’s wise?’ said the second. ‘They don’t normally move.’
‘Of course,’ said the first.
‘X = -b + or – the square root of b squared – 2a over 4ac,’ said the one known as quadratic. They left him behind, along with a few others who failed the auditions.

They managed to get all the way to Jerusalem without a map, just following stars, but then they had to ask. They wound down the window of their camel and hailed a man they were passing.

‘Do you know where the king is?’ they asked.
‘Er hello. The palace,’ was the reply, ‘You ought to wise up.’

So they went to ask the King of Jerusalem at the time if he knew about this special baby.

The King of Jerusalem at the time was called Herod. He was a jealous and cruel man. He didn’t like the idea of anyone else being king apart from him, but he didn’t say anything.

‘Where is the new king of the Jews?’ the wise men asked.
‘The king of the who?’ said Herod.
‘The Jews,’ said the wise men.
‘I thought that’s what you said,’ said Herod. ‘I’ll try and find out.’

He sent the wise men off to get some fast food and gathered his own wise men together. He found teachers of the law and chief priests, which was the best he could do for advice in those days.

‘Tell me about the king of the Jews,’ he asked.
‘The king of the who?’ they said.
‘The Jews,’ said Herod.
‘We thought that’s what you said,’ they said, ‘He will come from Bethlehem.’
‘How do you know that?’ he asked.
‘Because Isaiah told us,’ they said, which shut him up, because Isaiah was a great prophet who had written stuff down so Herod should have known that.

Herod called the wise men back. ‘When did the star appear?’ he asked.
‘Mmmph the ther yh eatht,’ they said, because they were still finishing their burgers.
‘You what?’ said Herod.
And once they had swallowed, and of course disposed of the packaging sensibly, they told him.

‘Well I’d like to come and worship such a child too,’ said Herod, who told fibs like that from time to time, ‘So when you find him, tell me where he is.’ Herod did an evil pantomime laugh and sent them off to Bethlehem.

The wise men left and carried on following the star, which is probably what they should have done in the first place. Telling evil King Herod about another king was perhaps not the wisest thing they’d ever done in their lives.

The star stopped over the place where Jesus lived. They went in.
‘Did you know I‘ve been out with three different girls called Joy,’ said one of the wise men.’ He was overjoyed.

‘Who are you?’ said Mary and Joseph.
‘You men funny oo look camel,’ said Jesus. It would be a while before he taught in parables.
‘We are wise men from the east,’ said the wise men from the east. ‘Some call us kings and some call us magi.’
‘What do you want us to call you?’ said Mary and Joseph, happy to meet some people who wouldn’t be saying, ‘Oooh hasn’t he grown.’
‘Got pressies me get now,’ said Jesus, before they had a chance to offer their names.

So they got the pressies out of the boot of the camel and set them down before Jesus, who thought the perfume was for his Mum, the drugs for his Dad and the gold was pretty but there was no chocolate, ice cream or toys so how wise was that? ‘Where Playstation?’ said Jesus. ‘No X-box. Waaah.’

‘Epiphany,’ said the first wise man.
‘Bless you,’ said the second.
‘No, dummy, Epiphany. From this day forward this season will be known as Epiphany. It means to show to, or appearance. It commemorates when Jesus showed himself to us.’
‘You should lay off the Telegraph crossword,’ said the second, ‘It’s gone to your head.’

And then they didn’t go back to Herod, because he’d been giving them bad dreams. And so Herod got angry. So angry he killed all the little boys in Bethlehem, figuring that a new born king would be trouble one day even if he was now only two years old or less.

But Jesus’ parents had run away with him to Egypt. So Jesus lived, but you lost your little brother.

Sometimes it’s hard to be wise.

This may or may not have been published by CPAS in Church Leadership magazine. Whether it has or not it's the sort of high quality stuff they produce.

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