Network news anchor Brent Fullworth: We bring you a live update on the birth of Jesus Christ from our correspondent, Bethany Smug, who is standing by in Bethlehem. Bethany?
Bethany: Brent, what we know is that a carpenter named Joseph and his alleged virgin wife, Mary, traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to pay a tax that had been decreed by Caesar Augustus. It’s rumored the two were delinquent, but finally consented to pay.
Brent: A couple of tea-party types, Bethany?
Bethany: That’s the rumor, Brent. When they arrived, they couldn’t find a room at the inn — even though Mary was with child — because of the heartless cuts Republicans made to housing vouchers.
Brent: By electing conservatives, don’t these tea partiers understand they are voting against their own interests, Bethany? One other thing puzzles me: You said Mary was with child? How can that be if she is a virgin?
Bethany: An alleged virgin, Brent. Members of the religious right are making the ludicrous claim that the child is a result of some kind of “Immaculate Conception.”
Brent: Sounds to me like Mary and Joseph concocted this “Immaculate Conception” tale to conceal something.
Bethany: No doubt, Brent. In any event, the baby Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger.
Brent: Why didn’t Joseph take Mary to a hospital?
Bethany: Republican cuts to government health care would be my guess, Brent. This story gets more bizarre. The religious right claims that when the baby Jesus was born, shepherds in nearby fields saw angels appear. The angels allegedly declared that the “Savior” was born and that his name was Jesus Christ.
Brent: There must be a scientific explanation.
Bethany: Whatever the case, the religious right also claims that when Jesus was born, a star shone bright over Bethlehem. And that three kings hundreds of miles away saw the star. They followed it for many days until they arrived at the stable. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they returned to their lands to spread the news.
Brent (laughing): What the heck is frankincense and myrrh?
Bethany (snorts): Beats me, Brent. To add drama to this incredible tale, King Herod has fallen for the absurd claims spread by the religious right. The king is threatened by allegations that the baby Jesus is the “Savior” and the “Messiah.” He has ordered that Jesus be killed.
Brent: That’s no laughing matter, Bethany.
Bethany: Sources tell me the young family just fled Bethlehem with King Herod’s men hot on its tail.
Brent: Hold on, Bethany. Our satellite cameras have located a small family heading for Egypt. We can see a man walking next to a donkey. A woman is sitting on the donkey, holding a baby in her arms. At the top of the screen, you can see King Herod’s army searching in vain. The army is headed east, unaware that the young family is headed west.
Bethany: How far away is the army from the family?
Brent: According to our satellite technology, the family is exactly 8 miles east of Egypt’s border. King Herod’s army is only 5 miles east of the family. Wait, it appears that King Herod’s army has abruptly changed direction. The army is heading toward the family at a rapid clip.
Bethany (laughing): Sounds like somebody tipped them off, Brent!
Brent: We need to break for commercial, but when we come back, we’ll bring you the latest on the birth of Jesus Christ. Will the young family survive? The answer when we return.
Tom Purcell, a freelance writer, lives in Library. His books include “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery. Visit him on the web at TomPurcell.com. Email him at: [email protected].