In a break from a 2000-year-long run, son of God, Jesus, will for the first time not feature in this year’s festivities and TV listings.
Speculation was high among followers that this Yuletide the carpentry wizard would transfigure into the so-called ‘War Messiah’ predicted by some evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, executive emissary to the Lord, Chris Chibnall, assured fans that though Jesus will be absent from Christmas day sermons, he will be back for a special hour-long sermon on New Year’s Day to once again inspire and terrify children in equal measure across the globe. On Christmas day, services will instead feature compilations of classic Morecambe and Wise parables mixed with hymns devoted to the worship of Felicity Kendall.
The popular time-travelling hero first appeared in 1AD, initially in a series of educational historical stories, though his ever more fantastical adventures soon grew a cult following, with many of it’s adherents attending weekly conventions to discuss their favourite stories, such as when he threw the money lenders out of the temple, proclaimed himself the prophesied Jewish messiah, and reunited with previous incarnations of himself to destroy the Dalek fleet in the Gallifrey time war. The character is today known and loved worldwide for his eccentric dress, bumbling companions, and possession of a bread basket which is bigger on the inside.
Though gospel-writers have promised the new verses will be ‘his most exciting yet’, some devotees have complained that recent stories have lacked plot twists and relied on too much mawkish sentiment and politically correct gesturing, with the Devil, the Levites and popular nemesis Judas all noticeable by their absence. Others have criticised their continuity, with characters seemingly coming back from the dead with regularity. One scribe told us: ‘It’s a lot of pressure coming up with a whole new set of verses every year with ever more colourful villains and situations, but we want to reassure the fans that with all the changes we will still feature classic villains and running up and down temples.’
He added: ‘It used to be that Christmas day services would guarantee audiences of up to 20 million, though we have to recognise that many people now choose to skip services on the day and access catch-up sermons at a more convenient time, that way they can focus on the true meaning of Christmas – watching TV.’