Christmas: One at a Time

A monosyllabic re-telling of the Christmas story adapted from the Gospels (NRSV) according to Luke and Matthew, chapters 1&2 . . .

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In the sixth month, God sent his man with news to the girl who was to be Joe’s wife. The one who brought God’s news said: ‘Hi, much liked one! The Lord is with you.’ But she did not get his words and was not sure what his ‘Hi’ meant.  The man with God’s news said to her: ‘Do not fear for God likes you. And now you will have a son and you will name him “he saves”. He will be great and will have the name the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne from the kings from years ago.  He will reign to the end of time.  The girl to be a new mum asked, ‘How can this be?’ God’s man with news said, ‘The force of God will come on, and in you, so the child to be born will be like God and he will be called Son of God’. Then the girl to be Joe’s wife said, ‘Here am I, God’s maid; let it be with me as you say.’ Then the man with God’s news went from her.

Joe was a good man who did the right things in life and he did not want the girl to be his wife to have to face what folk out there would say and do, and so he planned to let her go in a way no one else could hear. But just when he made up his mind to do this, a man with God’s word came from the Lord to see him in a dream and said, ‘Joe, do not fear to take her as your wife, for the child she has in her is from God’s breath. She will bear a son and you are to name him “he saves”, for he will save his folk from their sins.’ All this took place so it was just like the Lord had said it would be years and years and years back in the past: ‘Look, this girl who had no sex will have a son and they shall name him “God is with us”.’  When Joe woke up from sleep, he did as the man sent from the Lord had told him; he took her as his wife, but had no sex with her till the son had been born; and he named him “he saves”.

In those days, the big boss from Rome said all the world must go and write their names in their own towns. Joe went to his home town called ‘the house of bread’ and he went there with the girl to be his wife who had a child in her.  While they were there, the time came for her to give birth to her first son and she wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a feed box for there was no place for them in the inn.

Near there were men who cared for sheep in the fields and they watched their flock by night.  Then they saw the ones with news from the Lord stand in front of them and the Lord’s glow shone round them and they were so scared. But they heard these words: ‘Do not fear; for see – I bring you good news of great joy for all: to you is born now down there in the town one who saves, who is the one God touched, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth in a feed box.’ And then there was a host who came from God and praised God and said:

‘To God be praise on high, and on earth peace for all those he likes a lot.’

When the host from God had left them and gone back, the ones who cared for the sheep said: ‘Let us now go to the town and see this thing that has gone on down there, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found mum, dad and the child who lay in the feed box. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them of this child; and all who heard it thought ‘wow’ at what they were told.  But the new mum put all these words in a safe place as if they were gold, and thought them through in her heart.  The men who cared for the sheep went back, and they praised God as they went on their way for all that they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them.

In the time of the bad king, after “he saves” was born, wise men from the East came to the king’s town and asked, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?’ For we saw his star as it came up and have come to give him our praise.’ When the bad king heard this, he was scared, and all the town with him; and he called all the chief priests and scribes and asked them where God’s One was to be born. They told him, ‘in the town of bread, for so they wrote it in years long since gone when they heard God speak to them:

“And you, town of bread, are not at all the least from all those who rule; for from you shall come one who rules who is to care for my folk like a man who cares for the sheep”.’

Then the bad king called for the wise men and learned from them the time when the star first came out. Then he sent them to the town of bread and said, ‘Go and look hard for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may go and pay him what he’s due.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, in front of them, went the star that they had seen when it came up, and then it stopped to show the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were so full of joy.  As they went in, they saw the child with his mum and they knelt down and gave him their praise. Then they took the lids off their chests of good things and gave him gold, strong scent and myrrh.  And then they were warned in a dream not to go back to the bad king and so they left to go home to their land not on the road they came with but by a new route.