12/22/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy slave2six ~
Sadly, the Heavenly Host was lost. They were, after all, from Heaven and had no knowledge of Earthly topography.
Today was the big day and they were supposed to sing for the new child when he arrived. It was going to be a spectacular event and all of Bethlehem would be astounded.
But they were lost.
And it was getting late.
"Hey, Hend-el! You better hurry up angel! We have midnight mass duty tonight and you know we can't be late."
"Shut up. Of course I know."
"Remember when Lucifer was late and God told him he was being rebellious?"
"Yes. Now will you shut up?"
"He threw Lucifer and his entire choir out of Heaven."
Hand-el was metaphysically sweating. Golly gosh darn it, he thought.
There, in the distance. A light. Hand-el shot forward like a comet and the choir, who was also getting nervous, followed closely. Ah! People! This was good.
Hand-el showed himself.
"I say. Excuse me!"
The shepherds crapped themselves and fell to the ground.
"Good heavens! Don't do that. Do you know how much trouble I could get in? Stand up for Christ's sake."
"Who's Christ?" asked one of the shepherds.
"Ah! Well, good question. He's the savior. He was born to you this day in the city of David. We're sorta looking for him. Do you know of a place called Bethlehem my good man?"
"Yeah. It's just a couple miles thataway."
"Lovely! So, were looking for a baby, obviously."
"Wasse look like?" asked another shepherd.
"Well, just your basic baby human, I suppose," Hand-el replied.
One of the angels decided to be helpful, "Yo, Hand. He's wearing swaddling clothes. Says so in the program."
Hand-el said to the shepherds, "He's wearing swaddling clothes."
"Well," replied the first shepherd, "he would be wouldn't he? I mean swaddling is what you do to babies isn't it?"
"Hand! Tell him that the child is lying in a mangler."
"He's lying in a mangler," Hand-el offered helpfully.
"Woss that then?"
Another angel chimed in, "Oi, Hand-el. I think it's a soft G. Manjer. No L."
"What do you mean Noel?"
"No. I mean there's no letter L in the word."
The shepherds, only able to see Hand-el, were a bit flummoxed. "Who you talking to, eh?"
"Manger!" he shouted. "Do you know what a manger is?"
"Wut? You mean the trough that the animals eat from?" asked the second shepherd. "Wass a baby doing in a manger?"
"Oh! I know this one," said the first shepherd. "Remember when Rebekka popped out her fifth brat and they was in the barn? They bunged it into a haystack to keep it warm. I bet it's something like that."
"This is taking too long. We are so getting thrown out of Heaven," murmured the other angels.
Hand-el was beside himself. He turned to the choir and was about to ball them out. His hands flew into the air and the entire choir took this as their cue. He started to say, "Will you please just shut the f..." when his hands came down and suddenly the Heavenly Host appeared to the shepherds and sang, "Glory to God in the highest..."
The original score was supposed to last thirty minutes but Hand-el, realizing his mistake and also realizing that he had to cut it short to be back worshipping God in time, cut off the song right after "good will towards men." Consequently, they never got to the part of the song that warned that anyone who decided not to take this whole thing seriously would wind up in a fiery torment.
The shepherds were dumbfounded.
The choir disappeared and bolted back to Heaven. Hand-el turned to the shepherds and said, "OK, look fellas. You just go on into Bethlehem and tell the Baby that we showed up and sang to you. Hopefully he won't smite you, or us."
And so the shepherds left their sheep, looked through every barn in town and found the baby. They had woken half of Bethlehem in the process, what with all the breaking and entering, and had to tell the same story over and over again. They looked particularly shiny, like Moses was reported to have looked when he saw God's backside, which caused people to wonder if they might not just be telling the truth, and so the shepherds avoided arrest.
They eventually found the right place. When they busted in, Joseph and Mary were snoring. They woke the baby who screamed loudly. This not only woke the parents but freaked out all the horses, donkeys and cattle in the barn. Joseph rose up and slipped on bits of the placenta that one of the cows had been eating and cursed, "Goddammit!" Fortunately, God had been constrained by having no vocabulary as a newborn.
"What do you want?" Joseph demanded.
"Oh, well," said an exhausted and rather smelly shepherd, "you see, some angels showed up and told us that the savior was born and was in a manger so we've been looking all over the place..."
Joseph looked at Mary, "Is this what' it's gonna be like? Paparazzi everywhere we go?"
"May we see the child?" asked another shepherd. Quite a few of the townsfolk were there as well.
Joseph shrugged. He picked up the child, which wasn't even his after all, and let the people gawk.
To their credit, none of the people actually recoiled in horror. Newborns aren't beautiful to anyone except the parents, after all.
And they all returned to their homes, each engaging in the same conversation that ran along the lines of, "That's the messiah? Figures."
Jews had a very keen sense of their own history.
Hand-el and his choir made it to midnight mass with just seconds to spare. God on his throne glanced down at Hand-el then gestured to the moondial and smiled grimly.
Message received, thought Handel. And he led the choir in a particularly sycophantic worship song, which made God happy.