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Modern Retelling: If Jesus was born today
Mary didn’t usually respond to Facebook contact from strangers, but she assumed Angel Gabriel was that Spanish guy she’d had a thing with in Magaluf last summer and accepted his friend request.
As it turned out, Angel wasn’t Spanish at all; he was a well-spoken Englishman and crucially, a messenger sent by God to tell her that she was in the family way and would shortly be giving birth to a child conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Angel said that, ideally, he’d been looking for a virgin but he soon realised, in 21st century Rochdale, this just wasn’t realistic – so he’d plumped for Mary.
Mary was perplexed, but accepted her fate. The worst bit was telling her fiance, Joseph. He’d gone to such a lot of effort to organise the flash mob proposal only a month ago and now she had to confront him with the news that she was up the spout courtesy of the Holy Ghost.
Naturally, he was a little unsettled by the whole thing. In fact, he wasn’t above going on The Jeremy Kyle Show to get a DNA test once the baby was born, just to clear things up.
But for now, he decided to be reasonable about it and stick by his woman. They hadn’t wanted to be teenage parents, but at least they’d get a flat of their own now. Joseph’s sister said she’d lend them a cot and they made a gift list on the Mothercare website.
Shortly before the baby was due, the couple took a gamble by heading to the new Aldi in Bolton. It was risky, given that Mary could’ve been just days from giving birth and there were likely to be crowds at the store’s grand opening, but they wanted to see if they could get the £3 Cava before it all ran out.
And so the expectant parents found themselves on the road when Mary’s waters broke.
Midway between Rochdale and Bolton and with all the local hospitals full up with Aldi stampede victims, Joseph decided their best bet was to head to a hotel and began to do some research on his Tripadvisor app. But Bolton Wanderers were playing at home and all the hotels seemed to be booked up.
‘Try Late Rooms,’ Mary suggested, now sweating profusely inside her onesie as her contractions intensified. Bingo – there was space for them.
She’d wanted a home birth, but in the end the conference room in at the Bury Premier Inn was just fine. Hours spent watching One Born Every Minute had prepared Mary well and she coped with the birth marvellously as Joseph live-tweeted the details to his followers.
Suddenly, Mary and Joseph were parents to a bouncing baby boy. And lo, they named him Jesus (after another one of Mary’s Hispanic conquests).
It soon became clear that baby Jesus was kind of a big deal. No sooner had they swaddled him than OK! were on the phone offering a five-figure deal for the first picture.
The new parents, dazed and overwhelmed, were invited to do an AMA on Reddit. Questions flooded in faster than they could answer them: ‘Is he really the son of God?’; ‘Can this baby save humanity?’; ‘Will you give him the MMR vaccine?’
Mary realised she had a great burden on her shoulders; not only did she have to care for a newborn, but she had to raise the son of God – all while trying to lose the baby weight as quickly as Rochelle from The Saturdays did.