"Are you absolutely sure you have to?" Gabriel asked, not for the first time. "Those Wise Man follow stars all the time. They'll only be a little bit disappointed. And the girl will regard any baby as a miracle. Any baby is
. You can still change your mind. I know, I know, you want to do it, and free will and all of that, though I have to say I get along fine without any free will. I've never missed it. I know you don't want to break your own rules for the world. But you can do anything, you know, absolutely anything. You don't actually have to go down there. Well, or you could go down there without going to all this trouble, without splitting yourself into parts, without being born as one of them and growing up there. If that's the point, then it's a point I'm missing. It's dirty in that stable, you know. Of course you know. You know everything. Which is why I'm saying you don't have to go down there where it's dirty and dangerous in order to know it. Send them a prophet! Or another burning bush! Or send one of us with the message. I'll go. I've been before. I know how to deliver a message to them. I can stand there in a cloud of glory with my wings spread and tell them what they have to do to be saved. It's not like it's a very complicated message. Oh God! You don't need to go yourself to deliver them. Fear not, I could say, I bring you tidings of comfort and joy. I could explain. Peace, goodwill, simple enough I think. You don't have to go, to leave us here with only part of you. And if you do have to go, then at least blast Herod with a thunderbolt first. They're just ordinary people you know, even though they're descended from David. Just a carpenter and his wife. And you'll be completely helpless at first, just a babe in arms. I know you say it's not for long, and it won't be, they live mayfly lives on Earth, hardly a century at most, but for me it will be eternity. And you won't violate free will and time so not even you know what they might happen to you, what you might suffer. You can do anything, you could change your mind! At least let me go too. At least let me go and announce that you're special and tell them the message? Please?"
And Mary brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes; and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, "Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: That ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men, oh please