Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Story 3 - The Prequel

Luke 2:1-7 and a bit of Matthew

We've heard stories about shepherds and wise men. Here's the prequel. The back story. Part Three. Which happens before parts 1 and 2. It's complicated.

‘Daddy’, said the boy. ‘Where does Jesus come from?’ This is his story.

Long, long ago, before Nailsea, when December 25th was just a date like any other, a woman found herself pregnant. It wasn’t now it was then; it wasn’t here it was there.

The woman's name was Mary. The man's, Joseph. They were engaged, which was a bit more permanent in those days than it is today. The baby was going to be called Jesus, because an angel had told Mary that. Angels do that sort of thing, occasionally.

Joseph was a bit miffed because he thought Mary had been up to no good. He wanted to break off the engagement. But an angel told him not to. Angels do that sort of thing, occasionally.

So the first answer to your question is, 'Jesus comes from God.'

'You mean there's more than one answer,' said the boy. 'Isn't that a bit odd?' Children find it very annoying when adults won't answer straight questions. But adults know that sometimes answers have to be a bit complicated.

Whilst all this was going on, Caesar Augustus, who was the most important Roman in the world, got very excited about counting. He had been in charge for many years and was getting a bit bored. He counted his fingers, he counted his servants. He counted his palaces. It got so distracting he even counted the peas in his supper before he ate them. Then one day he decided to have the world's biggest counting session. He called his advisers and administrators in and said, 'Start counting.'

'Er, what shall we count?' they all said.

'Everybody,' said Caesar, 'I want to know how important I am so I need to count how many people are in the Empire. Is it more than the Babylonians had in their empire? Is it more than the Assyrians had in theirs? Count everyone.'

The advisers were smart. They knew people moved around. If you wanted to count everybody they'd have to stand still.

So they thought their boss ought to issue a decree. And when they had explained to him what one of those was he agreed, because he got to sign an important-looking piece of parchment.

So it was decreed that everyone had to be counted. And so everyone in the Empire had to go to the place they had been born, and sign in.

Which was a pain because Mary was really very pregnant. Joseph had been shutting the door quietly and trying not to sneeze for weeks in case he shocked her. And now they had to go to Bethlehem, because that was Joseph's home.

'Typical of you to come from the back of beyond,' said Mary, knowing that heavily pregnant women can usually get away with a bit of a nag.

On the journey they worked out that Joseph's folks hadn't got a guest room. 'Pass us your mobile, 'said Mary, 'I'll call the pub for a room.'

'You can't,' explained Joseph patiently. They won't be invented for another 2000 years. You can't email. You can't book on line and we'll get there faster than a letter. We'll have to hope for the best.

They got a bit lost because at first they were looking for a little town lying still in a deep and dreamless sleep with silent stars. Then they realised they were humming a tune that hadn't been written yet. On the dusty road they passed a little donkey going in the wrong direction.

As they arrived in town they asked about rooms but everyone laughed at them. Which was a bit mean so Mary gave them a harsh look knowing that heavily pregnant women can usually get away with a bit of a harsh look. It was so full that even the Bethlehem United team had had to kip in the stable. They also had a striker called Rooney. That's Wayne in a manger over there.

As they tried the last pub Mary began making strange panting noises. 'Good girl' said Joseph, 'that might work.'

'No really ughh humph mupphtyty ouch,' she said, which sounded rubbish but actually was pregnant speak for 'Do something you fathead the baby's coming.'

So Joseph did the only thing he could do and kicked Wayne out of the manger and when the baby came he put him there.

So the second answer to your question is, 'Jesus comes from Mary's tummy.'

And, moving swiftly on, the third answer to your question is, 'Jesus comes from Bethlehem.'

'See him lying on a bed of straw,' said Joseph. 'That's a good line' said Mary getting her breath, 'You ought to copyright that. Hasn't he got a sweet head?'

But he didn't have time for copyright. A load of shepherds pitched up and said some angels had told them to visit. Angels do that sort of thing, occasionally.

'Where have you come from?' said Joseph.

In the fields abiding,' they said.

'What's with it with all these words?' said Joseph. 'Shepherds abiding, glad tidings, riven skies. Can't someone talk English oops I mean Aramaic, sorry? And what's with this cattle lowing stuff? I haven't seen a cow for ages.' I heard that,' said Joseph's almost mother-in-law. Which was amazing, as she hadn't come with them.

When the baby Jesus was strong enough, and Mary had recovered, and Joseph had finished in the pub, they all ran away to Egypt because they heard King Herod, the local King of the Jews, was doing nasty things. Then they settled back where they had come from which was Nazareth in Galilee.

And when someone asked where he came from, some years later, that is the answer Jesus gave, so it is said. And they teased him for it? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' They said. Think Wolverhampton and you'd not be far wrong.

So there are four answers to your question.

Jesus comes from God
Jesus comes from Mary
Jesus comes from Bethlehem
Jesus comes from Nazareth

And it's not even the smartest question. The best question is, 'Are you going to follow him?'


Ali said...

Lovely post.

Great piece, if you get time, could you work on the rest of the Bible too?

BTW, did you know that there were two premiership footballers in the stable that night? As well as Wayne, there was also the Northern Ireland & Sunderland striker Healy.

(the stars in the bright sky looked down ...)

Kathryn said...

Thanks...May I adopt that NOW for next year? with local variants, of course..Am sure it went down a storm :-)

St said...

Sure thing Kathryn. Anything on this blog is free to the reader to use, with due acknowledgement if you can be bothered but don't lose sleep over it. I presume you have seen parts 1 and 2 but if you haven't they are indexed under 'fiction' on the sidebar.