An alternative Christmas

Christmas brings us perhaps the world's most famous story. But if Jesus was born today, here in Ipswich, how different would the nativity story be? JAMES MARSTON imagines the modern day equivalent.

Christmas brings us perhaps the world's most famous story. But if Jesus was born today, here in Ipswich, how different would the nativity story be? JAMES MARSTON imagines the modern day equivalent.

AND it came to pass that Prime Minister Gordon Brown raised taxes - he's already done this when he was chancellor. Everyone had to go to their home town because the Inland Revenue had lost everyone's records, including two disks with family credit recipients' details on them - and the country was a right mess.

So Joseph and his Mrs, not that they were married yet, left London and headed for Ipswich in the county of Suffolk where Joseph's family came from.

His Mrs, Mary, was about to drop. She was having contractions as the One train pulled into the station but it was match day and the place was heaving.


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By the time they got to Ipswich Hospital the baby was on the way. The cash-strapped hospital was facing financial pressure and they temporarily put her in a corridor as there was no room in maternity.

They did consider going to a Travelodge, as rooms were being offered free to anyone called Mary and Joseph this year, but decided to stay in the nurses' care.

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Meanwhile there were in the same town, a small group of insurance brokers abiding in the Willis building, keeping watch over their clients by night.

All of a sudden, a nutter appeared from nowhere. They were pretty scared and wanted to call security.

The nutter said to them: “Calm yourselves. I've got some great news. There's a special baby been born in Ipswich Hospital. You'll find him wrapped up and waiting in a corridor on a trolley.”

The brokers wondered what to do, and decided to made their way up Woodbridge Road to check it out. They found the family in hospital and went to The Evening Star with their story so other people knew.”

Mary kept quiet though, and wondered what the hell was happening.

Now when Jesus was born in Ipswich, the country town of Suffolk, there came wise men from the east, probably from the Felixstowe peninsula, asking “Where's this new celebrity? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

There'd been some strange vapour trails that looked like they were hanging about over Ipswich, people were worried of increase air traffic, so the wise men followed them.

And when the wise men found the corridor, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and took his picture and asked for his autograph.

Then they gave him a load of freebies including a gold watch, some aftershave and some embalming fluid - a bit of a strange gift for a baby.

Finally after they had all gone Joseph had a dream telling him to emigrate because it wasn't safe. They fled from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and were presumed dead.

They came back when things were safer, and once their wives had claimed the life insurance money, and hid forever in another part of East Anglia.

Canon David Lowe believes the Christmas message is being heard loud and clear.

As priest at St John the Baptist, in Felixstowe, he is due to officiate at his last Christmas communion this year before retirement, and he said: “It seems to get earlier and earlier every year, but the message of the nativity, that God is with us and lived among us as a human, is still here.

“There is glitter and glamour but the message is there as well. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth and it is also a time of anticipation and waiting for the truth that the church proclaims on Christmas day.”

Mr Lowe said the gospel stories of Jesus's birth are different but complimentary.

He added: “St Mark's Gospel doesn't talk about the birth of Jesus. He concentrates on the ministry, passion and resurrection of Jesus. St John's Gospel uses theology. St Luke's Gospel puts Jesus birth into an historical context and St Matthew's is concerned with showing the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy.

“We can't take the stories too literally and the traditions surrounding the nativity have also built up around the story, Such as the names of three kings from the east - in the Gospel they are referred to as wise men.”

Mr Lowe said Christmas can be a difficult time for some people: “People will be wishing each other Happy Christmas but there are people in some very difficult situations. The message of Christmas is for those people as well.”

Is Christmas difficult for you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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