To dismay of my mother, and the delight of my Italian grandfather, I have my Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. No, this isn’t a case of Dissociative Identity Disorder where I have an incredibly pious personality that kills it at academia, during university I wanted to be a teacher and thought religious studies was my golden ticket to a full time job.
Spoiler alert: I work in IT.
However, I relish any opportunity to flex my undergrad muscles and talk shop, and thought since my Modern Retelling of the Easter Story was warmly received, I would like to take this opportunity to teach ya’ll about Christmas, as it is told in the Good Book.
So gather ’round and quiet that little part of your brain that says, “This is scientifically impossible.”
Let’s talk about the Christmas Story!
Ok. So. To understand Jesus’s birth story, we have to talk about his cousin, John the Baptist.
JB’s dad, Zechariah, was a devout priest who was married to a woman named Elizabeth who happened to be cousins with Mary the soon to be Mother of God. Maybe they were first cousins, or second cousins, but whatever, they were related. Anyways, the couple was getting up there in age, and didn’t have any children. So, Zechariah takes his personal problems to work, and decides to pray to God to give him a child.
One day, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and is like, “Hey girl, good news. God sent me to tell you to calm your tits, because he’s going to give you and your wife a baby boy.”
Zechariah, an unfortunately patriarchal man, was like, “How is this possible? My father-in-law sold me a lemon, she’s too old to have kids.”
Gabriel was pissed, and was like, “Do you want this baby or not?”
Zechariah, facing professional embarrassment for turning away a gift from God, backpedaled and accepted the late in the game pregnancy.
“Excellent,” Gabriel said, text messaging God the news.”But you have to name the baby John.”
“I kinda always thought I’d name my son Zechariah, too. Then I’d be called Big Z, and he’d be Little Z, it would be so cute.”
“You name him John, or I fucking walk. There’s a whole big plan set in motion, and you’re going to keep your GD mouth shut because you doubted God and his power, got it? Not a word to nobody.”
Zechariah left the temple and didn’t say a word to anyone.
A little while later, Elizabeth became pregnant but didn’t tell anyone, hiding her pregnancy like a teenager girl in Catholic school (maybe this was all foreshadowing?).
MEANWHILE, In Nazareth….
Mary was just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, engaged to a seemingly good guy named Joseph. One day, Mary was just kicking it at home when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.
“Hey girl, guess what? You’ve been chosen to carry the son of God. You’re going to conceive a son, name him Jesus, and we’ve got a whole marketing plan set up that’s going to make him the most important person in the world. Like, you have no idea. It’s going to be huge.”
Mary was confused, “But I’m a virgin.”
“Duh, that’s why I’m here. Don’t worry, we’re going to call you Virgin Mary FOREVER, just to make sure you remain virtuous, k?”
“Forever? Gee, I dunno…” Mary was doubtful. “How is this whole thing supposed to work anyways? Pregnant without sex?”
“Don’t worry. The Holy Spirit’s going to gently wash over you, and you won’t feel a thing. Which, from what I hear is often the case for a lot of women…so…”
They sat in awkward silence.
“But hey! If you don’t believe me, ask your cousin Elizabeth. She’s old as shit but she’s knocked up and six months along! The word of God never fails.”
“This doesn’t seem possible ,but with me being a girl and all, what do I know? Guess I’m having a baby!”
And then they squealed like giddy school girls in a Clear Blue commercial.
However, there was one last person to get on board with this story, Joseph, Mary’s soon to be husband.
Upon hearing that Mary was pregnant, Joseph was right pissed. There was no way in hell he was going to marry someone pregnant with another dude’s baby. Then one night, he had a dream, and in the dream an angel appeared to him.
“Hey girl, guess what? You’ve got to lighten up on this whole baby thing. Mary’s carrying the son of God, Bible. Swears. It’s legit. We’ve got a full plan set in stone for him, and he’s going to be bigger than the Beatles. She can still wear white on her wedding day, you won’t even know the difference down there after that baby is born, OK? So, you’re just going to have to deal with this and marry her, or else you’ll go down in history as the asshole who didn’t want to raise the Son of God. Choice is yours.”
When Joseph woke up he agreed to take Mary as his wife, but decided he wasn’t going to… you know… “know her as a woman” until after she had the baby. Which is probably for the best.
Once everyone was copacetic about these babies, Mary trekked it to visit Elizabeth in Judea. Maybe it was doubt, or maybe it was the lack of support for being an unmarried pregnant woman, but Mary needed that family bonding.
Upon seeing that Elizabeth was in fact preggers, she exclaimed, “Holy shit!” And it was at that moment that the Holy Spirit went into Elizabeth’s womb and little John the Baptist did a rumbly in his Ma’s tumbly.
And there you have it! The first part of the Christmas Story!
Babies for everyone!