It’s the story known to almost everyone. You don’t have to be Christian to know that the Nativity Scene on every church’s front lawn is symbolic of the birth of Christ…but why? If this woman was really pregnant with God’s Son, why would he not provide her a comfy room to give birth in surrounded by midwives? Why was she forced to give birth to the Holy One alone and scared and tired on a dirt floor….
I went to the barn tonight and in the cold and rain I observed the quiet -the peace. I stopped to listen to sounds that she would have heard: a donkey munching on hay, a chicken clucking, a kitten purring and calves suckling. It was so calming and serene.
And then to think of being nine months pregnant, traveling for miles on the back of the donkey to be ushered into a barn to give birth…
Initially it’s a shocking thought but look at the animals.
Animals are pure, they know no wrong. My animals have all come to me after a horrible start in life, yet they are trusting and forgiving. You can’t say that of most people.
Animals are all knowing. They have kind of sixth sense about them. Pappy, my donkey, just knows when the boys are around. They sense when children, innocence and goodness are around them. They just know.
There are videos and pictures all over the internet of cute momma animals cuddled up with different species and helping raise them…. I like to think this was a similar time.
So I think that God chose a manger in an innkeepers back yard because no human was pure enough to deliver His child. The purity of animals and the quietness of that old dirt barn had to have been a sight to behold.
So when you tell the story of the Nativity this year…consider the animals. Consider how excited they had to have been knowing that new life was being born. Maybe put the donkeys and sheep closer to the baby Jesus and the shepherds and wise men at the door…because, knowing my donkey, noone would get between him and that baby!
“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining….a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoiced , for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…fall on your knees…oh hear the angels voices…oh night divine”
Step outside as the sun starts to dawn on Christmas morning. Feel the air. Hear the animals munching if you have them. Imagine the angels singing, imagine the snorts and kickers as the babe Jesus is introduced to the world-not from a castle adorned with midwives but from a simple stable surrounded by animals who kept him warm.