The Whole Truth and Nothing But.....

Perhaps I am growing cynical in my middle age but somehow I cannot watch the television news without wondering to myself whether we are being presented with the whole story.

They seem to take a subject then present the most ludicrous extremes of the argument as if there are no other alternatives.

Thank goodness we have hit Christmas time so that we can have the balance of the nativity story to keep our feet on the ground.

Having said this it occurs to me that the same thought often came to mind when I used to watch our daughters performing as angels in the school version of the tale; this is not the whole story.

If you were to remove from the tableau the various bits of tradition that have been added over the years and the copious amounts of tinsel, silver paper, runny noses, and tea towels, what would we be left with.

Perhaps it would be a tale of enemy occupation, corrupt government, ethnic cleansing, and asylum seekers. All too familiar stories that seem to be often repeated on our news screens.

I understand that primary school teachers would be hounded out of their classrooms if they were to invest time in such subjects at what has become the season to party and enjoy the excesses we have become used to.

I feel sure, however, that we miss some of the subtlety of the scene. The promise that we are not left alone in our helplessness. The hope that one a day a child would be born who would bring about a different way of seeing the world. The reality that those in power don’t like such grass roots ideas. Even perhaps the possibility that there is some purpose in this corner of the universe!

One thing is for certain in the tale that we have come to know as the nativity; it is not the whole story. The main characters all seem to be the wrong type of people for such a seemingly important event. They had ancestors who were murderers and prostitutes. They were from the wrong part of the country. Without any connections that would make them seem powerful. Perhaps there is hope for us all.

One wonders how such a story would be covered by today’s television media. Would they interview the wise men about possible delays in travelling across borders during the holiday season? Or perhaps run a documentary series on the corruption in corridors of local government.

They would probably try to find a quirky angle from which to view the whole thing. Perhaps it would be the various uses of camel dung or the problems of finding hotel accommodation at the time of a census.

One thing is for sure; it would not be the whole story.

Thank goodness we have discovered the true meaning of Christmas today. Nigella Lawson’s recipe for goose-fat roast potatoes. The infamous cola advert. The office party. The vast amounts of money spent on presents.

And enough alcohol to cover up any thoughts of ethnic cleansing or a supposed visit from a deity in the form of a baby. Perhaps the newscasters have understood us well; after all we don’t really like the whole story.

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