Was that first Christmas night quite as silent and still as the carols say? Was the little town of Bethlehem characterised by deep and dreamless sleep? And did all of the sheep helpfully stay seated on the ground, despite the chorus of the heavenly throng, so that their keepers could rush to the cattle shed where the lowly maiden had laid her babe wrapped in swaddling bands to human view displayed?
The TV series ‘The Bible’ on Saturday painted a very different view of the holy family as Joseph battled alone across barren country to get his very pregnant wife to a place of safety. Instead of the jolly innkeeper beloved of nativity plays, a small village with no room at the inn probably didn’t offer much of a welcome when they arrived tired and weary. And the gospels that tell us Jesus had no place to lie his head in life, offer little to suggest a painless birth in the days before gas and air!
So what; is the Christmas portrayed on millions of cards a myth invented by Victorian Britain? Or is there, somewhere beneath it all, a tale of wonder that we can still find today? If the hopes and fears of all the years really were met in David’s city when love came down at Christmas time, love all lovely, love divine then maybe the missing piece (or is that peace?) that Cazz dramatised and Garry spoke about on Sunday can be ours this year?