My Christmas Story
from long, long ago
Submitted by Louise E. Righman

     My story starts with the Bible telling of the very first Christmas in Bethlehem. This animal has been the essence of humility, hard work, and devotion. The donkey * became an important pack animal for people living in the Egyptian and Nubian regions as they can easily carry 20% to 30% of their own body weight and can also be used as a farming and dairy animal By 1800 B.C., the ass had reached the Middle East where the trading city of Damascus was referred to as the “City of Asses” in cuneiform texts. Grain tractors to taxicabs, from grain to water pumps. The work of the world that machines do for us today. Done in astonishingly large part by this patient, humble, and absolutely essential, the quintessential beast of burden.

     The hardest working animal of all times. with due respect to the honey bee. There is easily no content scratch the surface of history and everywhere you find the sturdy little animal known variously as the burro, the ass, or the donkey. From the old world to the new, from the desert to mountain, to the jungle, the donkey is every where doing just about everything.

     The Sumerians, the world’s oldest city dwellers used specie of wild donkey call the “Onager” to haul their goods some 5,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians wouldn’t have gotten far in building the pyramids without the donkey’s help. Considering everything it has done for human civilization has received precious little thanks in return.

Criticisms are given one especially in that the donkey has the most melodious voice.

     Jonathan Swift started to dub it “The Nightingale” of brutes, but for certain people, those with the eyes to look a little longer and a little deeper, the donkey had a special quality, one that might be described as soulfulness.

     Certainly, the noble prize winning Spanish poet, Juan Ramon Jimenez knew so much through his relationship with the Piatro, a small donkey that had a soft hairy back, so soft to touch the he might be said to be made of cotton with no bones.

     A close reader of the Bible knows donkeys as important with over 100 references; the donkey just might be the most conspicuous animal in the Bible.

     When Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac, he travels on a donkey. Donkeys were the payment given by Pharaoh for Abraham’s wife when he takes her into his harem.

The donkey even features in the tenth commandment, which prohibits coveting thy neighbor’s wife, goods, and Ass.

     On the shores of the Sea of Galilee that the donkey really comes into his own. No other animal was as close to Jesus then when Joseph brought his pregnant wife to Bethlehem on a donkey. The donkey saw the birth of Jesus and the shepherd’s star and the wise men that came to worship, saw the baby in the manger.

     The Bible states there were also an ox and a sheep in the stable. When Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus fled into Egypt with there newborn child, a donkey carried them there as well. Then when they returned to their own city on the back of the donkey. The donkey was there when Jesus was a worker in his father’s carpenter shop. We feel we know he carried the tools and lumber of his trade.

     When Jesus makes the single most important trip to his life into Jerusalem on the donkey’s back is believed to be a mark of this event, the greatest of all feats.

     The Bible gives the heart of the christen story is told that we can worship Jesus not always in temples but in the most humblest, poorest, most ordinary places, and the peoples heart and the creatures that the world most often takes for granted. So when you worship this season remember the story of Joseph and Mary and the humble donkey. Look at the stars at Christmas, the sky may have a greater meaning also. “In Christ’s love have a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas

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