I’ve come to the end of my twelve days of Christmas books and I cannot help but feel glad the way most people do when they realise they’ve come to the end of being force fed mince pies and having to pretend to like their grandparents. Now that the Turkey leftovers are starting to go off, the credit card bills are coming in and the New Year weight loss plans are starting to bite we come to the end of our twelve days of stories with the story that inspired them all…
..Now that the sappy introduction is out of the way, I am not going to wax lyrical about the story of the Nativity, or how beautiful it is or remarkable that it founded a religion. As a fairly cynic agnostic that really isn’t my bag, referring to it a ‘literature’ story is already a pretty big indicator of how I feel about the whole thing. However this is the story/play that plays an integral role in defining a child’s social staus for most of their school careers (not to brag, but I was Mary in my nativity).
The school is a familar one, Mary and Joseph are going to get married one day when Joseph can get his carpenter business off the ground and Mary becomes a legal adult (at 14 years old she is in danger of becoming a subject of one of those hysterical documentaries that American talk shows and Channel 5 like to show). However one day Mary realises that she’s- shock!- up the duff. Terrified at what her parents are going to say she claims she was still a virgin and it was all this ‘God’ kid’s doing. When Joseph found out his girlfriend was pregnant by some other guy he was understandably pissed off but after searching high and low and even appearing on the Roman Empire equivalent of Jeremy Kyle looking for this ‘God’ character he grudingly accepted Mary’s story. Not wanting her to be another teen mum, he married her to give her a veneer of respectability and keep the Fish Wives of Judea off her back. When she was near full term they were forced to go to Bethelem to be counted for the census (government just trying to keep taps on you, Joseph said) and there because of the massive property crisis facing Palestine in that era with cut backs to welfare and housing services, Mary was forced to give birth in a barn. Twelve days after the birth the wise men finally showed up with their ‘gifts’ to provide welfare and benefits to Mary and her baby.
If you think about it, its not too far-fetched given it could still arguably happen today.