|Gross. That's just weird.|
Now, as I told this story, a co-worker who grew up in a relatively non-religious household confessed that as an adult, he really didn't know the Biblical story either. So, I tried to explain it. And I laughed. It really sounded ridiculous.
An angel tells a teenage girl named Mary that she's going to have a baby! But Mary is a VIRGIN! Mary cons her boyfriend, Joseph, into marrying her so she will be respectable. Joseph calls Mary a lying whore and stomps off. That night, he's visited by an angel in a dream, telling him that Mary is telling the truth. This scares the crap out of Joseph, so he marries the now-pregnant-by-God Mary.
When Mary is uber-pregnant, the couple travels to Bethlehem to pay taxes (or participate in the census, depending on the version). Mary rides on a donkey. Anyway, when they get to Bethlehem, the inns are all booked up, so they end up sleeping in a stable. There, Mary gives birth to Jesus. And a whole boatload of angels show up and sing, probably freaking everybody out.Wow. As always, you can count on Wikipedia for plainly spelling out all of the wonderful contradictions that exist in the Bible even for the most simple of stories. I love it. And as an adult, I now get to enjoy the incredulity on the faces of those who grew up in a totally secular environment as I tell the traditional Christian story of Christmas.
Meanwhile, a great big star shines overhead, and a bunch of shepherds travel to the stable and pay homage to Jesus. Because some angels told them to do it. OR if you read a different account, some "wise men" see the star, interpret it as a sign, and travel all the way to Bethlehem from who knows where and bring Baby Jesus some useless, but probably valuable gifts.
But you know the version I like best? The short, but sweet, version told on Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, our household's favorite holiday movie tradition! It's utterly delightful.
It's the TRUE MEANING of Christmas at 1:20. Thanks for explaining it to me Pee Wee!