Ours is a secular household. This week as we decorated the tree, made a playlist of carols, and planned our holiday schedule, I found myself telling The Christmas Story to my eight year old. Usually, when this happens, the innocent child falls in love with the radiant beauty of baby Jesus and is instantly converted to Christianity. That isn’t quite how it went in our house…

The Angel of the Lord Visits Mary

Mummy, what is a virgin?

It’s a person who never had sex before. So under normal circumstances, Mary could not be pregnant. 

But Mummy, lesbians have babies.

Yes, dear. But lesbians in the modern world can use sperm that a man donates to them. In the ancient world they hadn’t invented turkey basters or IVF.

Joseph Is Magnanimous

Why did Mary marry Joseph?

Good question. Why did Mary marry Joseph? She probably didn’t have a choice. Women usually didn’t in those days. A women couldn’t just get a job and buy a house. They had to have a husband to give them a house and money and stuff. And nobody had invented daycare, either, so Mary had to look after the baby. That's why you weren't supposed to have sex until you got married, so the baby would be provided for.

But if they were supposed to get married before they had sex, why didn’t God marry Mary?

I think you may have identified a flaw.

A Census is Called

But that isn’t how a Census works!

Last year I worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics during the most recent Census. My son helped me fill in his own details for the Census, too. He knows perfectly well that you fill in your name, date of birth, and your usual place of residence. Mind you, he also knows that if you are temporarily staying in a stable, the Census collectors will knock on the door and ensure you have been issued a form.

The Baby in the Manger

Why would you put the baby in a food trough?

Well played, child. Well played.