Richard Hall Online

A Methodist Minister Blogging like it’s 2006

The First Christmas Round Robin

Archaeologists working at a dig just outside Jerusalem have recently discovered the first ever Christmas round robin, from the Holy Family itself. You can tell it’s a round robin from its relentless cheerfulness and the adulatory description of domestic life. And, of course, it is written by the woman in the family. Happy Kitschmas!

To All Our Dear Friends,

What an ab fab year it’s been, but, my, hasn’t it flown! First I got engaged. Then I got pregnant. And ignore the gossip – of course it’s Joe’s, and he’s been an absolute angel. There really must be something in the water, because Auntie Elizabeth has just had a baby too. Zechariah (he was speechless), you frisky old dark horse!

And then there’s the fantastic holiday we had, thanks to Caesar Augustus. The rabble asks, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” But we’ve never had it so good! There’s the new investment in the infrastructure (aren’t aqueducts amazing?); the chariots are running on time (we’re saving for a classy birota of our own); the cuisine is fantastic (Joe’s favourite is dormouse meat trimmings with Palmyran dates for dessert – and the vino!: when Joe gets drunk he’s always singing the old Plautus hit “I’ve wined, I’ve dined, I’ve concubined”); and then there is that wonderful war being waged against those dreadful terrorists in the provinces.

And the poll tax – a quite brilliant idea! Not only for the revenue – it isn’t cheap running an empire – but for the way everyone had to return to their birthplace to be enrolled, a kind of universal homecoming, rah-rah-rah. Travel does so broaden the mind. Okay, there was the slight inconvenience of it – I was due at any moment – and we’ll never use Nazareth Rent-a-Donkey again. Still, the five-star accommodation at the Bethlehem Hilton made it more than worthwhile. Mind, the town was packed with tourists, but Joe played his descendent-of-David card and doors opened, I can tell you. And the birth went swimmingly: I pushed, the midwife pulled, and Joe passed around the cigars.

And the afters! The local Shepherds Union sent some reps with some nice woolly jumpers and a year’s supply of mint sauce. Then – would you believe! – royalty arrived, three kings who brought amazing gifts: vouchers for Lord (& Taylor), Channel No. 5 Parfum as well as Douceur Satinée pour le Corps, and they did our own personal horoscopes. Did you know the little one is a Capricorn? Finally, the Lord Mayor of Jerusalem, Herod himself, paid us a state visit. He said he couldn’t be happier if the child were his own. Then he broke out the champers and proposed a toast: “To a long, healthy, and happy life!” And he shared with us the great plans he has for the welfare of the youngsters in the city, to keep them off the streets. Such a nice man.

Now that we’re back in Nazareth, it all seems like a dream, but things continue to go so well. Joe is back at work, the business is thriving despite the recent credit crunch, and he’s been appointed to the executive committee of the local Rotary Club. I’m feeling fantastic – no post-natal depression for me! – and I’m quickly slimming down. Salve magazine has been in touch. They want to do a spread on us, with the baby as the centrepiece of course. He is such a lovely little cherub, perfect in every way. I look at how some of them turn out: no family values; teenage angst and anger; skiving off work; giving the rabbis a hard time with impertinent questions; hanging out with loose women, etc. But not our Jesus: he’ll be nice as pie.

This year we hope to visit Rome: the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, and Joe is dying to see the crosses on the Appian Way to check out the timber. We’ve started learning Latin phrases like (for Joe) Da mihi fermentum (Give me a beer), and (for me) In hac tunica obesa videbor? (Will I look fat in this dress?). I do hope the shekel stays strong against the euro.

Well, must go. So much to do. Ta-ra. Have a great Hanukkah! And may You-Know-Who bless you in the coming year.

Mary, Joe, and Jesus





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