It was Christmas Eve. Natalie and Isaac made their way down the hill to see the animals in Grandpa’s barn. Natalie looked up at her cousin to ask him a question.
“Can you tell me a story about Christmas?”
Isaac looked puzzled scratching his head; he opened the barn door. “Sure, I can. “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there!”
Suddenly they heard a voice…
“Wait a minute, slow down their young man! That’s not the way it really happened. Would you like to hear the real story?”
‘Who’s in here? replied Isaac, as he held Nathalie close. Their eyes searched the dimly lit barn. An old donkey moved out of the shadows.
“Donkeys don’t talk, do they? Isaac whispered. Both stood very still. Isaac asked, “Did somebody say something?”
“I did,” replied the old donkey. “He can talk!” shouted Natalie.
“So, now that that’s settled, would you like to hear the real story?” inquired the old donkey.
“Is it about Santa Claus coming down the chimney with all those wonderful presents?” I love presents!” gushed Natalie.
“There is another story and it’s better than Santa Claus. It’s about the best present ever given!” replied the donkey. It goes something like this. ‘twas a night before Christmas, the very first Christmas. You see my great, great, great, great, great…
Oh, there are too many greats to mention. One of my great-grandfather’s carried a very special gift that night.”
“What was it, Mr. Donkey?” asked Natalie.
“I know,” said Isaac, “It was a new baseball glove.”
“No silly it was a baby doll, girls love getting dolls for Christmas.”
“Maybe girls do well I want a baseball glove!”
Mr. donkey chuckled softly, “Natalie was almost correct, but this was a real baby.” The two went and sat down by the old donkey as he continued to tell the story.
“There was a man named Joseph and his wife-to-be Mary, who rode on my great-great-great oh you know great-grandfather, on a long journey to Bethlehem. Carrying Mary was very important because she was expecting a baby. And not just any baby! God had chosen Mary to be the mother of a special gift, a baby who would be the Savior to all mankind. And the baby was soon to be born.”
Isaac got excited, “I know, I know! I’ve heard this story from my Grandpa. Was a baby’s name Jesus?”
“No silly!” Natalie shouted, “It was Santa Claus!”
Mr. Donkey chuckled again. “Isaac is right this time. Sit back down while I continue the story. Now, where were we?”
“Mary’s about to have a baby!” squealed Natalie.
“Yes, but in those days, there were no hospitals; Joseph was afraid and didn’t know what to do, so he turned his eyes to heaven and prayed.
“God help me to find a warm bed for Mary to have your child in.” After Joseph prayed, he went door to door, but there was no room for Mary in Bethlehem that night. He was ready to give up when he came upon inn keeper.
“I have a stable; you can stay there,” the man told them. Joseph thanked him for his kindness and took Mary to the small stable behind the inn.
“There she found a place to rest, right next to the sheep and an old cow chewing on her evening meal. Mary loved God and was very thankful for the soft straw on that cool evening.”
“During the night, while the donkey, sheep, and that old cow watched over her, she gave birth to a very special tiny gift, The Savior God had promised us! She wrapped him in a warm blanket and placed him in a manger.”
“That same night, living in nearby fields were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, telling of the birth. The Shepherd’s immediately left their sheep on the hill site to search for the child. When they found him, they bowed down and gave thanks to God for sending the Savior, God’s own son!”
“Later on, there came three wise men following a bright eastern star. They had been waiting their whole life for the promise of this newborn king. When they found the young child, they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
The old donkey shook tears from his eyes and continued, “You see mine are the ones, while the town slept that night, the whole world changed. On that special night, some two-thousand years ago, God’s Son Jesus, came to live with us, so he could forgive our sins and redeem his creation.”
“So, Isaac and Natalie Christmas is about something greater than a baseball glove or a baby doll from Santa. Christmas is about a promise God gave us all, with the birth of His Son.”
Isaac took Natalie by the hand. “Mr. Donkey, thank you for that wonderful story of that very first Christmas.”
“You’re welcome Isaac. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“But Mr. Donkey whatever happened to little baby Jesus?” asked Natalie.
“When Jesus grew up, he performed many miracles and told everyone about God’s promise of love and forgiveness. But that’s a story for another day,” replied the old donkey, as he turned to go back into his stall.
As they left the barn, Isaac looked up. There was the evening star glowing brighter with every twinkle as night fell on the farm.
“Look Natalie, at the beautiful star!”
“I see it! It reminds me of the one in the story.”
“Merry Christmas Natalie, Isaac whispered, as he held her tiny hand.
Merry Christmas to you, Isaac.”
As Natalie and Isaac walk silently up the hill, they pondered in their heart The Real Story of that very first Christmas, told by the old donkey in Grandpa’s barn.
We Wish You and Your Family a Merry Christmas!
Shapiro Winthers P.C.