As It Might Have Happened in the Old West
By Frank Ball
For many families, reading the nativity story at Christmas is a family tradition. Here’s how it might be told in Texas.
1And it came to pass back in those days that a telegram was sent from President Augustus, commanding every citizen to register to be taxed. 2This was the first registration while Quirinius was Governor of Arkansas.
3So all went to register, everyone going back to his family homestead.
4Joseph also went up from south Texas, out of the city of San Antonio, into north Texas, unto the city of David, which is called Fort Worth, because he was a descendent of David, the famous rancher, 5 to register with his sweetheart Mary, who was as pregnant as a Hillsboro watermelon.
6And so it was, that while they were there, her time came and she went into labor. 7She brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in a saddle blanket. She laid him in an apple crate at the back of the country store because there were no rooms above the saloon.
8And there were in the same country some ranchers who were up late at night, branding their calves. 9And lo, the angel of the Lord showed up, and the light of the campfire shone all about them. And they were right near scared to death.
10And the angel said to them, “Fear not. For behold I bring you good tidings for both ranchers and city slickers—news that will make you pitch your hats into the air and leap for joy. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David, which is called Fort Worth, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.
12And this will be a sign unto you—a sign that even a drunken Injun could read. You will find the baby wrapped in a saddle blanket and lying in an apple crate.”
13Suddenly there was with the angel a whole herd of angels, singing and praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
15After the angels had done crossed over the fence and rode into heaven, the ranch hands said to one another, “Let us go now even unto Fort Worth, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the good Lord has showed us.”
16So they left their calves half-branded and found Mary and Joseph. Sure enough, the baby was lying in an apple crate, wrapped in a saddle blanket.
17And after they saw the baby, they rode to all the ranches nearby, to tell everyone what had happened. 18All the ranchers and hired hands who heard the story could hardly believe their ears.
19Mary treasured the experience, and pondered what kind of cowboy her son might be.
20The ranchers returned to their branding, singing a new tune and glorifying God for all the things they had heard and seen, how it was all exactly as the angel had said.
21When the day came for the baby to be christened, he was named Jesus, which was the same name the angel Gabriel gave before the baby was conceived.