Thursday, November 05, 2015
And in the eleventh month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Don't you think it's about time you started stocking up on tins of Quality Street?
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, I only ask because I see you've not got your Advent calendar up yet; holidays are coming.
The red cups are out; and they've started selling those turkey and cranberry sandwiches you like down at Pret In A Manger.
You must have seen the adverts with the dancing snowmen by now, and heard that Jona Lewie song playing in the market square.
I hear Herod And The Chief Priests came down at the weekend to switch on the lights; it looks ever so seasonal.
All the stalls down there are chock full of party nibbles, boxes of crackers, and slightly overpriced tubes of Pringles.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How can this be, seeing as we've not even had Black Friday yet?
And the angel answered and said unto her, It's never too soon to start buying seasonal provisions, which is why the shops are full of them already.
An early start is important to allow poorer folk, like shepherds, a longer window to stock up on essential festive goods, like tubs of peanuts and chocolate Santas.
Would you like a mince pie? The sell-by date is next week, so I need to finish off the packet before then.
Surely you've been saving up a bit each week for a hamper; that Caesar Augustus could send out a decree to be taxed at any time.
You need to start party planning right now; sourcing a natty little cocktail dress and pre-booking your hotel.
Me and the other angels were even forced to hold our office party at The Bethlehem Inn last night; everywhere else was full.
All this cajoling, it's nothing sinister; just a friendly reminder that the eastern star will be standing over us soon, and you need to be prepared.
That firstborn son of yours surely deserves a must-have present; what if there's a rush on gold and frankincense before the time comes he should be delivered?
For with God no celebratory purchase shall be too premature.
And Mary said, But I'm not due to give birth for another fifty days, for heaven's sake; bah humbug! And the angel departed from her.