A different way of getting pregnant
(Matt 1:18–25)

The birth of this bloke Jesus sort of happened like this. A woman called Mary got pregnant, but it happened a bit differently. Mary’s fiancé Joseph had nothing to do with it – it was arranged sort of direct by God. Now, Joe wasn’t so sure about all of this being right and proper. He was all set to send Mary off down the road when this angel character turned up in a dream one night when Joe was packing a few zzzs. This angel, she said, ‘No worries Joe, God wants you to marry this woman, this baby bloke has been planted there direct by God, no worries. Matter of fact, you’re going to call him Jesus and he’s going to sort a few people out, OK?’

Joe woke up, he did, married Mary, but they didn’t have it off till the little chap was born.

Meanwhile, down on the farm . . .
(Luke 2:8–20)

Nearby, out in the neighbouring paddocks, there was a crowd of farmhands on night-time sheep-minding duties. While they were half nodding off, an angel turned up. This made quite an impact: it got incredibly bright – this was clearly something God was involved in – and it scared the pants off them. The angel reassured them: ‘No worries you fellas! I’ve got some absolutely stunning news for you. Today, down the road in the town, this little nipper has been born. And he’s no ordinary kid, he’s going to make life totally rock! Cos, you see, he’s God’s special bloke. How do you know this is for real? Well, check out these details – he’ll be dressed in typical baby stuff, but he’ll be parked in a feeding box rather than your standard bassinet.’

Suddenly this humungous bunch of angels turned up alongside the original lone angel. Every one of them was enthusiastic. ‘Wow, God’s just fantastic!’ they said. ‘And around this place we trust you all have a happy Christmas, as it were.’

When the angels had taken off again, the farmworkers had a yarn: ‘How about we head off down to Bethlehem, then we can see for ourselves this special kid God’s rep just told us about.’ Everyone agreed so they took to their heels. Sure as, they found Mary and Joe, and the wee bloke in the feeding box. They spread the news among their mates – and everyone was pretty well blown away by all accounts.

As for Mary, the kid’s mum, she was stoked by all of this, and she kept chewing it over for a good while afterwards.

And the farmhands? Well, they went back to work, enthusiastically telling God how great they reckoned he was because of all the stuff they’d seen. What’s more, it was word for word, frame by frame, exactly what they’d been told to expect.

A few smart blokes come for a look
(Matt 2:1–11)

Now, at this particular stage in history when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a guy called Herod who happened to be king. One day some smart researchers came wandering into town from some foreign parts. ‘Where’s this new mini-king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his sign when we were studying the stars and stuff, and we’ve come to wet his head, as it were.’

Now, this sort of put the wind up the present monarch, and all his supporting cast too. He called the lawyers and religious leaders. ‘Can you tell me where this special God character is supposed to be born?’ he asked them.

‘That’s easy,’ they told him. ‘Bethlehem. The wise guys way back said so – they said: “Bethlehem, your number’s going to be called, and you’re going to produce a significant leader to guide the people around here.” ’

Herod summoned the smart blokes from – well, wherever – and asked them on the quiet when the particular star they were watching had started its notable journey. Having got the requisite guff from them, he sent them down the road to Bethlehem. ‘Go and see if you can suss out where this little fellow is,’ he told them. ‘When you’ve got his location sorted, give me a bell, cos I’d like to go and be part of the celebrations too.’

The smart blokes acknowledged his request, and got their camels on the road again, following the said star till it came to a dead halt. They were stoked. ‘This must be it!’ they said. They entered the house and saw the kid there with Mary his mum, and they got down on their benders and worshipped the wee bloke. Then they opened the presents they’d brought along – a good heap of cash, some flash perfume, and some high-quality, reputable medicinal stuff.

John gets it all started
(Mark 1:1–8)

Here goes – the story about Jesus, son of God. Good, eh?
Way, way back this bloke called Isaiah wrote, ‘God says, “I’m going to send a bit of an advance guard to get things ready. He’ll be doing some pre-event publicity, endeavouring to call attention to the fact that I’m on my way, so get yourselves organised.”’

Sure enough, this guy John turned up, telling everyone it was about time they changed their crooked ways. People from round and about turned up to hear him, confessed their wrong stuff and got dunked in the local creek as a sign of a change. This John character was wild as, and a bit of a greenie. Wore all natural substances – and ate them too!

‘Watch out you guys!’ he said. ‘If you think I’m all right, I’m just the supporting act. You wait for the main event. What I’m doing is just for starters really. The next guy will baptise with the real McCoy, God’s Spirit. Yep, for sure!’

Bringing down the house, sort of
(Mark 2:1–12)

A couple of days later, Jesus popped back to Capernaum. And for Capernaum this was a big deal. Jesus was chatting to some blokes at their flat, and the place got totally filled with humanity – apparently all busting to hear what he had to say. Talk about squashed! But wait, there’s more . . . These four guys came along with their mate who was a paraplegic. They were carrying him, actually, wheelchairs not having yet been invented. Now, as I already said, the place was chocker. What to do? ‘No worries. There’s a roof, ain’t there?’ noted one of the four guys.

So up they went, dragging their mate with them, and with a bit of bang-crash-scrape-and-dig they created a new skylight. By the time they dangled the guy down, Jesus had wiped the surprise – and the bits of ceiling – from his face. ‘Now that’s a bit of faith if I ever saw any!’ exclaimed Jesus. ‘Hey son, your sin and stuff – it’s gone, no worries.’

‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ asked some of the local God squad, who’d been watching Jesus with a wary eye. ‘Only God can forgive sins, for crying out loud.’

Jesus could see right through those guys. ‘I can see right through you guys,’ he told them. ‘What’s the big deal? Tell me this, is it easier to say to this bloke “Your sin’s gone”, or “Get on your feet mate and go for a run”? But just to show you that I’m in good with God on this stuff . . .’ He turned to the paraplegic and said, ‘Get on your feet mate and go for a run.’ The now ex-paraplegic did just that, and as you can imagine this was quite impressive. ‘Good God, you’re all right,’ they said. ‘That’s quite original!’

One hell of a storm
(Mark 4:35–41)

Day’s over, night’s here. Jesus says to his mates, ‘Hey guys, let’s go across the other side, eh?’ So they took off, leaving the crowd in their wake, with the odd observer boat tagging along. They were out in the middle when one hell of a storm hit them. Water everywhere, and seemingly forgetting what side of the boat it was supposed to be on. Talk about sink – man, they were that close. While this went on, Jesus, believe it or not, was having a bit of a kip down the back. Well, his mates didn’t think too much of that, and shook him awake. ‘Listen boss,’ they said, ‘we’re about to drown and you give all the appearance of not giving a stuff!’

Jesus was rather unimpressed with that remark, and equally unimpressed with the weather. He got up, turned to face the elements, and quite simply said, ‘Shut up!’ And just like that, the wind did shut up. End of story.

Turning to his mates, he said, ‘Well lads, now what do you
say? Still don’t trust me?’

They sort of freaked out at that. ‘Good grief!’ they blurted out. ‘Who on earth is this guy? He tells the wind and waves and stuff what to do, and they do it.’