And it came to pass in those days—as everything comes to pass, for if it doesn’t pass then it must run the ball—that a decree went out for Caesar Salad from Augusta, Maine. All the world was to be taxed—the Democrats had won the election. Everyone came to Bethlehem to be recounted. In Florida, they came to be counted and recounted, until every male Chad, well hung or with dimples, had been counted again.
Joseph, wearing his amazing Technicolor raincoat that he got at a Christmas sale at Wal-Mart, brought his wife. She was with child—Joseph should start acting his age. They tried to get a room at the Holiday Inn (because kids eat for free) but apparently the Patriots were in town for a play-off game, and no rooms were to be had. They passed up the parking garage for a stable in back.
Meanwhile, there were shepherds standing out in their fields. Well, where else would they be? They were watching over their sheep. Some were counting their sheep. Others were doing things with their sheep we should not mention. They were lonely. They were sore. They were afraid.
An angel came to them and said, “Fear not, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. I bring you tidings of great joy!”
The shepherds asked, “What’s a tiding?”
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”
And suddenly, with the angel food cake, there was a hostess of cupcakes. Praise be to God.
It came upon a midnight clear, although the weatherman had called for snow. Many of the shepherds had bought merchandise that would be free if six inches of snow fell that night. It had not snowed in Bethlehem in centuries. They were clueless.
Hark! The Harold angel sings. His name was Harold. You got a better name for an angel? But the story is not over until the fat angel sings.
And it came to pass (for if it didn’t pass it wouldn’t be history and we couldn’t write about it now) that the shepherds talked amongst themselves.
“For unto you a child is born,” repeated one shepherd.
“Not me,” replied another. “I never touched her.”
So they set out to see what this was all about. Besides, the sheep were tired and there was nothing else to do.
Meanwhile, back in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph found the stable and decked the stalls with boughs of holly. Don wore now his gay apparel (we always wondered about Don.) Mary, who was quite pregnant, gave birth to a child. She had the baby in the stable since her HMO insurance wouldn’t kick in until after the New Year. Joseph was happy since he could take his tax deduction right away. She wrapped the babe in sequined clothes, and named him Elvis. She laid Him with his manager. He was to be the King.
And it came to pass—apparently a lot of things came to pass back then—that Three Wise Guys, who were apparently lost, saw a star appear in the heavens. They followed that star from the East, but they really couldn’t be sure what direction it was since they were lost anyway. Those three kings, disoriented are. Wearing gifts, they traveled afar.
They brought the new King gifts of goldfish, Franks-n-beans, and mirth. In addition to being wise guys, they were pretty funny as well. They also had a lot of intestinal gas. They laid their gifts down before the King.
And He said, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
The moral of this story: book your reservations ahead of time.
Laugh if you will, for I have given you the gift of mirth. It is a humble gift. I hope this gift reminds you of another story, long ago, which came to pass. And as you come to pass (fourth and long, late in the game) and decorate your stable, wrap your myrrh, drink your eggnog, and tend to your sheep, that you stop for a moment—perhaps more—and consider the reason for the season, and remember that babe—our Savior—so long ago when a Star was born.
Thank you. And have a Merry Christmas!