St. Hereticus's Christmas Carol

Robert McAfee Brown (ed.?), The Collected Writings of St. Hereticus (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1964).

Honestly, I’m having a hard time understanding how it is that only now in my theological education have I come across this gem of a volume. It is a must-read for anyone with a theological existence and a passing familiarity with 20th century theology and American church life.

Seriously, do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy. It will not fail to amuse and edify.

In that spirit, therefore, I offer below St. Hereticus’s retelling of the Christmas story - his "Christmas carol," if you will. As The Saint notes, “I have left the text [of this telling of the Christmas story] in the American koine” of the 1960s, although he offers a number of suggestions as to the various source materials that undoubtedly hide behind the redactor’s hand. You can find the following on pp. 75-77 in the text cited above.

The Gospel According to St. Hereticus
Chapter 2

[1] Once upon a time God lived at the North Pole. He wanted little boys and girls to be happy and have lots of good times. But if they wanted toys, they had to be good. [2] So God sent a spaceman to tell the shepherds not to be afraid, because even though Santa Claus was coming to town, Herod was going to kill all the little babies. Next week on the ABC television network the three wisemen watched the baby Jesus coming to earth [3] in a spaceship that was so bright it looked like a star. [4] They followed the spaceship for a long time. But they didn’t get tired, because they came in a sled that was drawn by three camels named Prancer and Donder and Blitzen, and the sled went jingle, jingle, jingle, all the way. [5] The noise frightened the shepherds’ sheep, who started to run, and the pilot leaned out of the spaceship [6] to tell the shepherds not to spank their sheep, because this would make them sore afraid.

He said that if they went to the Bethlehem Steel Company, they could see Jesus in a manger with an electric light bulb in it to keep the baby from getting cold. [7] But the baby in the manger was only a doll, so it didn’t matter.

[8] The kings finally got there and had presents for the baby. One had some gold from Fort Knox, and another king named Frank Incense gave Jesus “murr,” or something. [9] The shepherds didn’t see the spaceman anymore, [10] but they decked the hall where Jesus was with boughs of holly, so that if bad Herod went there, he would prick his finger and die.

[11] But Santa Claus got down the chimney before Herod had a dream, and left a bowlful of jelly for Mary and Joseph, because they couldn’t get into the hotel for supper. [12] Mary was great with child, so she was the babysitter while Joseph went to the garage and got the donkey. [13] Then they took a trip to the desert so Jesus could play with the sand toys Santa Claus had left, and then Santa Claus gave them a ride over the Red Sea in his sleigh [14] so that the Egyptians wouldn’t drown them.

[15] Then God went back to the North Pole [16] until next Christmas and took off his red suit [17] and made more toys. [18] But it’s always Christmas for Dad if he gets a carton of filter cigarettes that draw better than all other leading brands. [19] Impartial tests show. [20] And the shepherds were late getting back to their flocks, because they were keeping their watch by night and couldn’t see what time it said. But they left a special message for us [21] about telling Mom to go down to the friendly neighborhood grocer and buy a giant economy size box of Zuz, with a plastic wind-up angel inside absolutely free, [22] complete with launching platform.

[23] Since Jesus gave presents to all the animals, we ought to give presents [24] event to our aunts and uncles. He liked all the animals in the manger, because they were wearing swaddling clothes to keep warm, and there was a donkey and a cow [25] and a horse and two sheep and a bear and a lion and a hippopotamus [26] and a pushmepullyou, and all the people wore clothes made from old living room curtains.

[27] Herod’s other name was Scrooge.

Merry Christmas (Eve)!

(Those who are curious as to The Saint’s telling of the Easter story need only surf over to The Scriptorium Daily. But you can also expect more from him to come here at DET.)


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Anonymous said…
For those of us of a certain age, we recall St. Hereticus as a regular contributor to The Christian Century. Thank you for this wonderful Christmas gift reminder!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing

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