After a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where I knelt before a fourteen-prong star marking the traditional site of the birth of Jesus Christ, I found myself sitting in a smart bus from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. As I watched the scenery roll by, I felt nonplussed over the site I had visited a little earlier. The stainless steel star surrounding a hole in the marble floor seemed so far removed from the reality of the virgin birth that was supposed to have taken place there. Was this the real spot or not? So arguments rage for and against, but none of these arguments impressed me. Instead, I had a longing wish to have been present during such an historic event.
I arrive at Tel Aviv for an arranged visit to a car-hire dealer. It was here that I was shown a Delorean, quite a fast, impressive-looking make of car. The dealer showed me a special dashboard, where I would type in the present date, the date I would want to be transported, and the date to return to. He also showed me the Flux Capacitor, a three-pronged gadget enclosed in a glass and metal casing located just behind the driver's seat, and a caseful of carefully bottled Plutonium as fuel for the Capacitor.
Presently I was cruising along the highway towards Jerusalem, from where I took the highway south towards Bethlehem. My lifelong dream - would it be fulfilled so soon? I drove to where Rachel's Tomb is located, just outside Bethlehem, and momentarily parked the car. I got out, fuelled the Flux Capacitor with one of the bottles of Plutonium, and then climbed back inside, making sure that I had the rest of the fuel sitting beside me. I then typed the present date and time, then my destination date and time underneath the present setting:
December 25, 04 BC, 04.00.00.
Then underneath, I typed the present date with the time set to a few seconds after present departure.
I was fortunate that the highway was free of traffic, as by this time it was getting dark, being a Friday evening, and the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin. I took a look back to see if the Flux Capacitor was - er - fluxing. The flashing lighting of the triple prongs assured me.
I put my foot down on the accelerator and the car roared into life. The road was clear. The speedometer reached 88 mph. All of the sudden there was a sudden bang, and I found the car speeding along a dirt track on a dark starry night, the rough ground surface rapidly slowing down the car. Nearby there was a cave, one of many in this part of the world. It was a good place to hide the car until I came for it later that morning.
I walked towards the village, now looking very different from the town I was familiar with. I was gasping with a combined emotion of excitement, shock, and bewilderment. I kept on turning around, surveying the scenery. All the stars above shone brightly. As I walked through the village, I saw what looked like shepherds heading the other way, rejoicing and all looking extraordinary happy. I could not understand what they were saying but one of them pointed at the direction I was heading for, and gasped, Messiah! Then he spewed out a torrent of excited words I could not understand, and then made off to the fields some distance out of town.
I recognised the area as the approximate location where the Church of the Nativity will one day be built. There were some houses, next to one of them was a cave which served as a stable. Various animals were resting near what looks like a feeding trough. Two people, a man and his wife, sat above the cot, looking into it. I hesitated. But the wife, having looked me over, beckoned me in. I approached the crib, and there l saw the newborn, lying awake in the manger.
I felt tears roll down my cheeks as I fell to my knees looking into the crib, and worshiped, remaining silent for the better part of thirty minutes. Now I knew why the shepherds were so joyful. They saw the child, and believed that he was the true Messiah. They were instantly washed from their sins, and acquitted, and knew that they have eternal life. They also knew that their salvation is theirs and they will never be lost again for ever. Oh, the power of God's mercy!
To the child, I began to spill out what was in my heart. It was the ideal environment to do this, because as one speaking English, nobody around me would understand, certainly not the child's parents at least. It was a conversation reserved for the baby only. The child cooed as I began:
"You may not realise it now, my child, but you are the Messiah, the Christ, the future King of Israel, the Saviour of all who believe who you are, like the shepherds did. You also have a name, Immanuel, which to my language means God with us. And you are indeed God incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity, as we call the Godhead back home.
"You will grow up in a harsh world, where your people is ruled by the Romans, a Gentile empire where I have my ancestry. Heh! Somewhere in this domain, quite likely in Rome itself, lives my father's direct ancestor. But it is you, Lord Jesus, I came from far off to see, and not any of my forefathers. You will grow up in a world of gross inequality. Slavery is normal here, so is the world of the gladiator, where two men fight to the death, literally. Your people is under oppression here, but part of your mission is to free all from oppression, as well as from their sins, and to reconcile all mankind to God, since it was you, my child, who created us in the first place - to enjoy eternal love, joy, and fellowship with you, the only true God.
"I was born in a land called England, far into the future. Yes, I'm from the future. It is because of you, Lord Jesus, your immaculate conception, virgin birth, your future ministry, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, that has changed the world. So at least, where we call a 'Christian Country', we no longer have slavery, nor the games where gladiators battle it out. We have healing centres such as hospitals, where the sick and infirm can have the right kind of medicine. Coming to think of it, Lord Jesus, such a principle already exists in your time, over at Kos, and founded by that great Greek doctor Hippocrates. Funny enough, we even have, right up to my day, the Hippocratic Oath, still recited by every junior doctor at graduation.
"England is a fair, pleasant, and easy country to live in, Lord, but there is as much inequality in my sphere of life as it will be in yours. We English are obsessed with social class, levels of education and wealth. For example, for centuries the English gentry had live-in servants, a posher word for slavery, the only thing that made the difference was that English servants weren't under the threat of the whip, instead under the threat of potential unemployment and the possibility of starvation. Oh yes, Lord, come to think of it, a time will come that you will receive 39 lashes. That's how much you love us. As your prophet wrote, by his stripes we are made whole. However, we have come a long way with the introduction of the benefit system. However, employers in my sphere will now only give plum jobs to those graduates who had the privilege of a private education. If you fail at State school, life is a lot harsher and may have to depend on benefits. It is very humiliating, come to think of it. And now our Government is fighting to have those benefits reduced, if not eliminated, so those who are poorer will be worse off, while he has mates, nearly a hundred in all, Special Advisers, or 'spads' who are paid enormous incomes directly by the taxpayer.
"Oh Lord, my sweet child, you yourself wrote in Proverbs 31:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of those who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
"And you will come to know, Lord, that this was the advice a queen gave to her son, the heir of the throne, King Lemuel. He was instructed that the poor and the destitute lived with security in his kingdom. But our Government is going the opposite direction, to deprave the poor who are mostly hard working, even further in order to line the pockets of his own chums. Yet the irony of all this is that a very large percentage of the English population not only fully adore and support our Government's priorities, but share in its disdain for the working poor, for celebrity worship.
"And we even have that eccentricity within Englishness, where a football manager is sacked, given greater priority in news bulletins, well above the news that many of the elderly are facing untimely deaths due to neglect. Even sons and daughters have abandoned their elderly parents to care-workers in order to pursue high-flying careers, in their bid to survive and prosper in a competitive world.
"That because, dear Lord Jesus, is that near to my timesphere there were three men we call great. They totally turned our way of thinking from honouring you as our Creator to worshiping and competing among ourselves, individually, as families, and as a nation. Yes, three men - three of all numbers. The first was Frenchman Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a fiercely-opinionated atheist who first published the idea that the alternative of seeing ourselves as your creation, instead saw us as a product of evolution by gradual mutation. The second was Scotsman Charles Lyell, who wrote, Principles of Geology, and ushered in the theory of Uniformitarian Geology. And the third was Englishman Charles Darwin, who wrote, Of the Origin of Species. Of the three, Darwin remains well known globally. I bet that if I were to visit France and ask, Who do you think was the father of Evolution? they would give me a look of surprise and answer, Well, Darwin of course. Indeed. Their own founder, Lamarck, remains confined within highest academia. Thank goodness, my dear child, this will not happen to you.
"Therefore it took an Englishman to reshape our way of thinking, leaving us with an ungodly philosophy that we are chance-products of evolution, eventually evolving to godhood. This leaving us to strive against each other, creating a social class system which not only disfavours the poor, the weak, and the ugly, but has enslaved the minds of the English population, which then spread out to enslave the rest of the world. Yet it had its origins in England, Kent to be more precise. And that includes the taking away of our three young daughters in the middle of the night, simply because some atheistic bitch representing the State thought that we were too stupid to parent our own children. Now they are adopted by another family whose surname and whereabouts remain unknown to us."
Suddenly I break down in tears. The cooing baby reached out his tiny hand and the whole of it wrapped around my thumb. I thought I detected him smiling, as if reassuring me that in his hands, all will be well. His mother came up to me and placing her hand on my shoulder, reassuring me, even if I did not understand her language. I looked again at the child as his fingers clutched at my thumb. As he eventually let go, I rose up and looked up at the brightening sky. An unusually bright star shone overhead, amidst a clear blue dawn sky, still free from the blazing sun.
"I better go." I said, with words that fell on non-understanding ears. "Mary, Joseph, Lord, soon the wise men will be here. They will bring gifts of joy. Receive them when they arrive." I instructed, but without avail.
Somehow, despite the language barrier, they understood. They both nodded as I made my way out, but not without bowing to the Holy Family in reverence. I made my way to the cave where my car awaits. I poured fresh Plutonium into the Flux Capacitor and started the engine, ensuring of the correct return date and time was displayed on the dashboard. Then I managed to spot an area of flat hard ground, large enough to accelerate to 88 mph.
Back at a library in Jerusalem I heard of an ancient manuscript telling of an early first century legend about a twin set of fiery tracks spotted just outside Bethlehem...
I wish all you readers and followers a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. God bless you all.