It’s that Nativity time of year and, as usual, my sympathies go out to all those representations of the baby Jesus, be they shiny plastic dolls, real live babies who’ve been volunteered by their proud mothers, or even stuffed rabbits, as happened recently at a junior school near us.
Why on earth does He need my sympathy, you may well ask? Well, all right, the baby Jesus does get the starring role – but consider the presents he has to endure, please. Frankincense? Yes, it’s a type of perfume – but have you actually smelt it? Almost certainly not, because they don’t put it in modern scents. And that tells you all you need to know about it. Myrrh? Not only is it a total nightmare to spell (but what an absolute winner it would be for Hangman, I must try and remember to use it next time we’re enduring the wait in Pizza Express) but it is also pretty gloomy stuff. It was used, historically, in embalming procedures. Well, charming. Just what you want on your birthday – a reminder of the tomb to come.
No, the only present worth having that the poor Holy infant received was, of course, gold. And what’s the betting that the Three Kings gave Him that in the form of some ghastly trinket which Mary would rather die than have in the house? Luckily for us, nowadays, you can get round that by exchanging cash for gold – highly recommended if Father Christmas, like the Three Kings, doesn’t bring exactly what you ordered this Christmas.