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The greatest story ever reported

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A new take on the story that broke on Christmas morning.

By Steve Doyle

And in the same country, two editors were keeping track over the newsroom by night.

And, lo, an angel of the Lord came before them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them.

But they weren’t afraid, because they knew this was Fred, a neighbor in St. Peter’s Loving Arms Apartments.

“I have glad tidings of great joy,” he said. “Which shall be unto all people.”

They shook their heads.

“Come on, Fred,” one said. “You sound like Moses or Malachi or one of those old guys. We’ve been here thousands of years. Can’t you be a little more hip?”

“I’m just practicing my lines.”

“What lines?”

“The ones The Big Guy gave me to say. I got a big road gig. I don’t want to mess it up. This is big stuff.”

The editors gave him their best cynical stares.

“Come on, what’s the news?” the asked. “We usually doknow everything around here, you know?”

Fred smiled. “Well just listen.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David…”

“Hold it. Did David put you up to this? The City of David? That’s a little ‘burg in Judea. Nothing big happens there except death and taxes, and there’s a lot of taxing going on this year from that Herod guy.”

“Will you let me finish?”

They opened their palms and offered an encouraging gesture.

Fred cleared his throat and continued.

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

One of the editors quickly raised his hand.
Christ the Lord? Who’s that?”

“Well, they don’t tell me the behind-the-scenes stuff, but I think it’s The Big Guy’s kid,” he said in a hushed voice.

The editors suddenly were getting interested. The Big Guy has a kid?Nobody knew anything about that.

They had dozens of questions. Mainly, who was the mother? How did it happen? It’s not like The Big Guy has a social life or something.

And, besides, that sort of thing wasn’t such a big deal Up Here.

“So is that all you’re supposed to say, Fred? And who are you talking to, anyway?”

“I don’t have names, just a time and place.”

“Where are you headed?”

“To the hills just outside Bethlehem. Some shepherds are there.”

“Shepherds? The Big Guy has a kid, and they’re sending you to tell some shepherds? Why not tell this King Herod guy?”

“I think he’s getting the word through another source.”

“So what else are you going to tell these goat-herders.”

“Well, I say, ‘You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes…”

“Wait. Swaddling clothes?What are those? I know ‘swaddling’ isn’t in the Stylebook, probably not even the dictionary. Hand it to me, please.”

His partner handed him the heavy scroll and said,  “I think it’s supposed to mean like rags or something.”

“So the Big Guy has a kid, and they don’t even have a decent robe for him? This is just strange.

“Anything else?”

“Well, I finish by saying…after the swaddling clothes stuff…’find the babe lying in a manger...’”

“You mean like where cows eat their hay? That kind of manger?”

“That’s the only kind I know, but you’re the word guys.”

“Why would he be in a manger?”

“I’m not privy to all the details, but Rebekkah in the receiving office at the Pearly Gates said she heard the birth was happening in a stable, that because of this tax things, all the inns and stuff were booked. And the baby was due on a specific date. So this was the place.”

“OK, this continues to get even stranger. You’d think they’d have reserved the best room in town, if you have to have the kid in Bethlehem. The Big Guy controls those birth dates anyway. And you say it’s His Kid. Doesn’t make sense.”

The editors shook their heads simultaneously.

“Are you going alone?” one asked.
“Oh, no. I’m just sort of a warm-up act. You know me, not a star – though I’m told there will be a really bright one over that stable – so I just have this little monologue, then the choir comes out.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere. What will they be singing?”

“I heard them rehearsing a short piece that goes something like ‘glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will toward men.’ Or something like that.”

“Seems kind of brief and, well, sort of plain. No herald of trumpets?”

“Hark, have you heard our angels sing? They’re voices are gori in excelsis deos, you know?”

“Yeah, they ain’t bad.”

The editors clearly didn’t know what to do.

This was a huge story, they understood,

In fact, it was even bigger than when Moses saved all those people way back when.

They were thinking they should publish an extra. Everyone surely would want to know about the new kid. But they didn’t have the story about the mother and how this whole thing developed.

“You know,” one said, “we’re going to have to go see Him.”

“You go ahead,” said the other. “I don’t think he likes me. Just sort of the way he looks at me, you know?”

“If He didn’t like you, you wouldn’t be here. And he made you an editor of The Really Good News. That’s important. You should go ask him about this.”

So the editor left the office and walked up the hill toward the throne that overlooked all mankind.

He stepped into the room and knelt quickly in awe of The Man.

“Sir, I’m sorry to trouble you. I know you are busy.”

“No problem, son. You know I always have time.”

“Well, we’ve heard some information that you’re about to become a father. And we think that’s big news. Would you be willing to talk about it?”

“Son, surely you know, I will talk about this until the end of time. Take out your scroll and have a seat, and let me tell you all about it.”