The Holy Ghostwriter: First Christmas News Reports

Rev. Paul Lintern

(JN Associate Editor Rev. Paul Lintern is pastor of Oakland Lutheran and Southside Christian Churches in Mansfield, OH.)

Scriptures say that in the fullness of time God sent his son to the world. Scholars agree that the time of Jesus’ birth and his ministry 30 years later were ideal for “getting the word out” because Rome had - in its own special Roman way - brought the whole known world together under one banner, so to speak.

Still, some wonder why it wouldn’t have been better for God to wait until the age of mass media and the internet, when the message could be better spread across the globe. Why didn’t God wait?

I know why. This is what I imagine the Christmas story would be like, if it were to happen in this social platform age:

  • “She’s having God’s baby, or so she says. Girls who talk to angels and husbands-to-be who don’t know how to react. Next on Dr. Phil.”
  • This is Anderson Cooper with reports from Rome where moments ago Prime Minister Augustus declared that all the world should be enrolled. If this makes it through Parliament, it could mean a lot of changed plans for the upcoming holiday season.”
  • “They say the sky lit up and angels sang to them. Drug use in the shepherding industry. Listen to Newt’s new podcast on your I-heart App.”
  • “New on the Astrology network: Following a star, to near from far, these Magi follow ancient sky rituals across the hot lands of the Middle East in the latest installment of ‘Superstars of the Stars.’”
  • “Honey, is the donkey packed? Get the kids and let’s go. Reservations? No one goes to Bethlehem; we’ll find a place easily.” (Cue: Captain Obvious.)
  • “The situation is getting tense here in Jerusalem. Premier Herod suspects a political coup, involving a baby no less. It raises speculation of bloodshed. Embedded with the Roman Army, this is Joe Scarborough.”
  • “A video of an innkeeper turning away a homeless family has gone viral after he is heard saying, ‘No room for your kind here.’ A bystander tweeting the scene shows the couple quietly leaving and the innkeeper sneering at them. See it now on NewsViews on-line.”
  • “It looks as though all lanes leading into the City of David are backed up for miles. Take your time folks; this will be a long Christmas Eve commute. This is Priscilla Aquilla with your traffic one update.”
  • “She said she couldn’t have children, but now in her old age, Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, is pregnant. Women who conceive in their old age and men who are left speechless because of it, next on Good Morning Jerusalem.”
  • “Travel accommodations for the holy family provided by Egyptian Airlines and Holiday Inn. Take a flight into Egypt; there’s always room in the Inn.”

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