'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even... wait, wait, wait. Someone is stirring. It's that little rugrat, belongs to Mary and Joe. Little what's-his-name. What's he playing?
Where did Jesus play? Right there (possibly), according to a team of archaeologists in Israel, who've just dug up an approximately two-thousand-year-old home in the city of Nazareth, coincidentally just in time for the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of their approximately two-thousand-year-old savior.
Round about two millenia ago in this town, an angel delivered a one-line memo from God to Mary that said "You're preggers" and advised her to head for Bethlehem. The subsequent parts of that legend have been laid down allegorically in the best-selling book of all time, "The Bible: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the God-Baby" (subtitle later dropped by marketing department).
What the gospels--those that made the final cut--didn't much tell us is how Jesus grew up, did in school, got on with his mates, fared on the football team, got punished for breaking curfew, and rebelled against his parents by screaming "I wish I'd never been born of the one true God in a smelly barn surrounded by donkeys."
Until now, believers and skeptics alike have only been able to imagine in their mind's eye how Jesus must have lived in the town of Nazareth between the ages of zero and thirty.
But now, thanks to some timely digging in the parking lot directly opposite the Church of the Annunciation, which is built on the spot where Mary is believed to have been sitting knitting when she received God's angel-fax, we can all see exactly where Jesus spent his youth: in a hole in the ground.
For you see, much like today's Nazareth--which is a mostly Palestinian-Arab-inhabited Israeli city with a mixed Muslim and Christian population whose economy relies heavily on tourist dollars from foreign Christians while they otherwise face economic discrimination--the Nazareth of Christ's boyhood was also a poor place, and thus it is not surprising that Jesus and his family lived in the dirt.
The credibility of this theory is certainly being touted by Israel's Ministry of Taking Dollars from Christians, a spokesperson for which said, "We were, er, as surprised as anyone that there was this two-thousand-year-old dirt home here in Nazareth where your Messiah happened to live, and further that we found it, hehe, just in time for your celebration of his, uh, totally believable virgin birth."
In related news, the Palestinian Ministry of Taking Dollars from Christians Brave Enough to Cross Israeli Checkpoints has announced it has started digging in the parking lot outside Bethlehem's Nativity Church. "Maybe we'll find a sandal or something," said a spokesperson. "Perhaps Jesus dropped a baby rattle on his way out of town. If it's here, we'll find it. Please come visit. Please. Pleeeeeease."