* The Unauthorized First Christmas *
Christmas is here and that can mean only one thing: and while I have no idea what that one thing is, I'm sure it's a huge load. But whatever it means, I thought now would be a good time to share with you the story of how it all began. Christianity is so pervasive in our society that even the staunchest atheist and most indifferent agnostic think they know the story, but you've been sold a lie. Here, the TRUE story of the first Christmas.
Long ago in the town of Nazareth, there lived a girl named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph. One day a man named Gabriel, clearly in the midst of an opium-induced freak-out, broke into Mary's room and nervously muttered something about Mary having a "God-baby" and how she must name it "Jesus" so Gabriel would be forced to give his penis a new name. Mary sat in stunned silence, wondering why this man had ripped the wings off a goose and nailed them to his back.
Soon after Gabriel's visit, it became obvious Mary was pregnant. Mary explained to Joseph this must be the "God-baby" the "winged man" told her about. Joseph quickly agreed and convinced Mary her unexplained black-outs and vaginal bruises were nothing to be concerned with. They were quickly married and Joseph told Mary they must head for Bethlehem immediately to pay a "special tax." When Mary asked about this special tax, Joseph responded, "Just get on the damn donkey."
At last they reached Bethlehem. After being turned away from several inns, it dawned on Joseph that others were not sympathetic to his plight. There was simply no way this many inns became "full" every time Joseph asked the innkeeper to "take care of this thing for me." But eventually a kind innkeeper told Joseph, "Yeah, I can do that. Just wait out back next to the goats."
Upon seeing Mary, it became obvious to the innkeeper that Joseph had misled him about the state of Mary's condition. He reneged on the deal and told Joseph to "do what you gotta do" in the stable and that the fee for his discretion would be "the same as for the other thing." Joseph tried to handle it but was constantly interrupted by curious passers-by. It was too late. The baby Jesus was born.
Meanwhile, on a hill overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherds watched their sheep. Suddenly, a man on fire appeared on a hill above them. Suffering unimaginable pain, the man shouted "STRANGE SMELL FROM COD! TODD'S SON HAS BEAN-CORN AND BETH THE HAM!" The shepherds heard something different and, with nothing else to do, headed to Bethlehem to see what that was about.
Once there, the shepherds searched for the Son of God. They tried to start the search in a tavern, but were stunned to see a baby lying in a pile of straw and animal waste. Deciding one baby is as good as another, they knelt down to worship him. Mary asked if the "winged man" spoke to them too. The shepherds exchanged glances before one responded "Um, I only noticed the glowing, but now that you mention it, he DID have wings." Joseph was weirded out, but decided to run with it.
In the East, Wise Men saw a new star in the sky. They had no idea what this meant. And since Wise Men must appear wise, one of them, while the others weren't looking, grabbed a scroll and jotted down that this meant a new ruler had been born. The others wondered how they had never before seen this text on their only scroll, but didn't want to look foolish by questioning a Wise Man.
The Wise Men set off to find this baby. They followed the star to Bethlehem. Stars are in space and can, for all intents and purposes, lead you to any location, but Bethlehem was here and they were tired. Later, while relieving themselves outside a stable, they heard Jesus cry. Appalled by the sight of a mother so young, they left the child everything they had, which included a small amount of gold and a couple sacks of gum resin they regrettably traded a camel for.
These men, angry with Joseph, waited for his return. Joseph pulled the men aside and explained. The Wise Men, while outraged at the idea that anyone would attempt to justify impregnating a young girl, decided it was better for her and the baby to live the lie. They assured Joseph his secret was safe, but did ask if they could use his tale for "this book of silly stories we're writing."
And that's why there's a tree in your living room and you annually put your kid on a fat stranger's lap. Merry Arbitrarily Chosen 24 Hours, everybody!