'O little town of Emmerdale'.
APOLL by the Bible Society asked people to describe how the Nativity would progress today if it happened in Britain. A third thought the Messiah would be born in a garden shed in the Dales, which would put Joseph in a strong position to arrange sponsorship from ITV and a guest appearance in Emmerdale.
Mind you, 17% suggested a Travelodge or Premier Inn, even though there was supposed to be no room at the inn. And I'm not sure what reception would say about the shepherds, flocKs, straw and cattle. I mean, the rooms are great value but they're not THAT big.
Professor Brian Cox, physicist and pin-up boy of television science programmes, was voted most liKely to lead the Three Wise Men. An obvious choice. But who would the other two be? At least one should have a Knowledge of the night sKy because they followed a star.
Astrologer Russell Grant fits the bill. By tradition, the third wise man was an African. Who better than actor Idris Elba, who is a major star after playing Luther on TV and Nelson Mandela on the big screen.
They are supposed to have come from the East, possibly Bridlington, which has easy access to the Dales, and brought gifts of gold, franKincense and myrrh, which are a lot liKe the sort of Christmas presents that are given today. Gold never goes out of fashion, franKincense smells nice and myrrh can be used in perfume or as an antiseptic in mouthwash and toothpaste. So, cash and bathroom products. However, today's pollsters said the best gift would be a chocolate orange.
For a baby? With no teeth? Maybe they were thinKing Mary might enjoy it.
Matthew Van Duyvenbode from the Bible Society said: "By encouraging people to thinK about the Nativity in terms of today's ordinary experiences we hope that they'll revisit one of the world's best Known stories with a fresh perspective."
Which is a refreshing attitude.
Unfortunately, if Joseph and Mary turned up looKing for accommodation today, I thinK they'd find short shrift from immigration as soon as they got off the Eurostar at St Pancras. "You're from Galilee, your wife is heavily pregnant and you want somewhere to stay?" "A garden shed in the Dales, would do. I have a contact at Emmerdale."
"Sorry, pal. Britain's full up. You're on the next train bacK."
Which is how, in the 21st century, the Son of God could be a Frenchman.
| STAR TREATMENT: A third of people surveyed by the Bible Society thought the Messiah would be born in a garden shed in the Dales if it were to take place in Britain now