Mary, sorry we’re late. Traffic was completely donkey-to-donkey. I told your father not to follow the same damn star everyone else was, but who listens to me?

Oh wow, there are lots of animals here. That doesn’t seem very sanitary. My rule was no pets in the house, and you and your siblings were no Messiahs, believe me.

What do you mean, “no room at the inn”? Did you even try the Bethlehem Marriott? Very nice place. I guess my genius son-in-law didn’t think to write ahead. I told you to marry that scribe. Oh—hello, Joseph. I didn’t see you there behind the ox. Wait, Joe, don’t go anywhere. Find a place for my Dolce and Galilee bags.

Now let me see my only Begotten Bubelah! Aw, my grandson is gorgeous. But he doesn’t look like the Son of God. Don’t get me wrong; he’s perfect. I guess I expected something else.

And what’s our Redeemer’s name? “Jesus”? Sounds like an exclamation. I guess “honor thy father and mother” means nothing to this generation. But I suppose an entirely new, odd name is also an interesting choice.

Oh, let me hold him! Jesus, your feet are freezing. Did mommy forget to put socks on you? It’s no wonder with all these drafts. Are you cold? I’m cold. Mary, once you lose the baby weight, you might be as sensitive to temperature as I am.

You need a nicer dress than those robes, Mary—there’ll be lots of company soon. But what you’re wearing looks very comfortable. Very brave of you.

I’m not complaining, but I didn’t even hear the Good News from an angel! I had to hear it from a shepherd.

Did you get the sandals Esther gave you? Not that he needs them, as far as I’m concerned, he can walk on water. I’m just asking because she didn’t get a thank you scroll.

Where did Joe go now? Always disappearing. Typical stepdad. Good thing for you, I’m staying for seven sundowns.

Speaking of deadbeats, I see the Holy Spirit sent nothing. Surprise, surprise.

What else did baby “Jesus” get? Oh, gold! Very nice. You know, that one magi is so classy. The other two? Please. I heard Gabriel calls them the One Wise Man and the Two Schmucks. But you did not hear that from me.

I bet being a wise man pays more than a carpenter. I’m just saying. Come back here, Joey, and sprinkle some frankincense and myrrh around me—it stinks like a cow toilet in here.

I’m surprised my nose even works. All this hay is doing a number on my sinuses.

Show me his bed. A trough? It’s so hard for the big-shot carpenter to build a crib? Look, where he sleeps is none of my business. Just know when you get home, there’s a beautiful bassinet from Bergdorf Nazareth.

How does he even sleep with all this racket? If it’s not a sheep baa-ing in my ear, it’s this damn kid with the drums. Go pa-rum-pum-pum-pum somewhere else.

I thought the Dead Sea Ramada was a dump, but at least no oxen were breathing down my neck. I can see this place needs a grandmother’s touch. I’ll stay about forty sundowns—you won’t even know I’m here.