Christmas story

Here’s a story my dad told me once about Christmas and why.

When he was a teenager his home country was occupied by the Germans. Where he lived the occupation lasted for four years. Somewhere during those years some parish priest one morning found a baby at his front door. With the baby was a note: ‘This is a Jewish child’.

The parish priest called for his maid and his doctor and organised a kind of conspiracy. The doctor wrote a note testifying to the fact that the maid had just delivered a healthy baby. The priest recognised the baby to be his own.

So for the outside world the priest had an illegitimate child with his maid, and the outside world took notice of this: they decided to go to church elsewhere and spoke of nothing but shame.

Only after the war it became known that the worst the parish priest had ever done was lie, with which Catholics don’t have too much trouble in circumstances like this.

I don’t know if this story ever really happened or whether it was made up. It’s not important nor relevant. My dad told me the story because he thought that this parish priest had really understood what Christmas was all about (the maid too, incidentally).

My dad probably didn’t realise it, but it’s a midrash: a story to explain a biblical passage. A story to explain other stories, basically. Religion is made of stories, and so is Christmas.

Happy Hanukkah!


One Response to “Christmas story”

  1. Of course, there were indeed many instances of Christians saving children and adults.

    That period still overwhelms me. Germany was one of the peak cultures of western civilization, and the unspeakable occurred there. Germany was a little more Protestant than Catholic, and what happened is the immense burden of both religions.

    I was not born at the time, but I am somewhat traumatized by the reality of it all. Of course, millions of non-Jews were also murdered.

    I was raised Catholic. The mass-murder was a great factor in turning me into a non-believer.


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