The Animals Can Talk. This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. Listen closely at midnight on Christmas Eve, and you will hear the animals talking….wonder what secrets my campers will share with me?
It was Christmas Eve in the barnyard. Seven ordinary animals had just settled down for the night. It was just a typical night — or so they thought.
The hour of midnight drew near. Silent snow fell gently to the ground. And then something quite amazing happened. These seven ordinary animals, in this simple barn, became seven special animals, if only for this one night.
“What has happened?” asked the young sheep. “Baa! Baa! I can talk.”
“Me, too!” said the dog. “Ruff!”
“Moo! Listen to me!” said the calf.
“What’s going on?” asked the surprised donkey. “Hee-haw!”
The cow wasn’t surprised. “It’s midnight,” she said. “And it’s Christmas Eve.”
“What does that mean?” asked the young sheep.
“I’ll tell you a story,” said the cow, “about the very first Christmas. Then you will understand.”
All the animals in the barn gathered to hear the cow’s story.
“Long, long ago, one special night,” began the cow, “Baby Jesus was born in an ordinary stable, in an ordinary town called Bethlehem. This was the first Christmas.”
“Was the stable like this barn?” the dog asked.
“Yes, almost exactly like it,” said the cow.
“With animals in the stable, just like us?” asked the young calf.
“Yes,” said the cow, “with animals just like us. Let me explain.
“Before Baby Jesus was born, his mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, had to travel through the countryside to the town of Bethlehem. Their trip took many days. They traveled up and down steep hills. To make things easier for Mary, an ordinary donkey carried her on his back and Joseph led the way.”
“A donkey, just like me?” asked the donkey.
“Yes, a donkey just like you,” said the cow. “Finally, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. But there was nowhere for them to sleep. They had to go to a stable and sleep with the animals. The donkey carried Mary safely to that stable.
“So it was an ordinary donkey who gave Baby Jesus a unique gift, even before he was born, by carrying Mary safely to Bethlehem.
“Later that evening, inside the simple stable, Mary gave birth to a special baby named Jesus.
“The stable was cold. Luckily, in the stable lived a handsome sheep with very soft, beautiful wool.”
“A sheep, like me?” asked the young sheep.
“Yes, just like you and your mother,” answered the cow. ” And this sheep’s soft, beautiful wool was made into a very special blanket. The sheep offered this blanket, her unique and most precious gift, to the baby. Mary wrapped Baby Jesus in this special, soft, woolly blanket. It would keep the baby snug and warm during his stay in the stable.
“After their long journey, and the birth of the baby, Mary and Joseph were too tired for lullabies. They needed something to lull the baby to sleep. But what? Mary and Joseph were lucky to find a gentle dove living high in the rafters of the stable.”
“A dove, like me?” asked the dove.
“Just like you,” said the cow. ” And each night her soft cooing soothed the animals in the barn so they could enjoy a good night’s sleep. That night was no different. The gentle dove’s soft cooing quickly lulled Baby Jesus to sleep, as he lay covered with the sheep’s special, soft, woolly blanket.
“But the baby still didn’t have everything he needed, even with these most precious and unique gifts.
“Since Baby Jesus was so special, someone was needed to keep watch over him and his family. A brave dog lived in the stable. And though he was an ordinary dog, he was a very special watchdog.”
“Just like me!” said the dog.
“Yes, just like you,” said the cow. “All night, this brave dog stood watch at the door to the stable. No harm would come to Baby Jesus as long as he was around. The dog was glad to offer this precious and unique gift, and protect the baby from danger.”All the animals in the stable gathered around Baby Jesus. Covered with a special blanket, lulled to sleep by the cooing of the dove, and protected by the dog, the baby still needed someplace special to sleep.
“His mother could not hold him in her arms all night. So Mary needed a comfortable bed for her child. The ordinary cow came forward and offered the manger, her most precious and unique gift, so the baby would have a safe and soft place to rest his sweet head.”
“An ordinary cow, just like you and me, Mom?” asked the young calf.
“Yes, just like you and me, dear,” said the cow. “Mary and Joseph lined the manger with hay and tucked the baby under the soft woolen blanket.
“That night, another special thing happened,” continued the cow. “A bright star began to shine in the sky.”
The animals were puzzled again.
“Where did the star come from?” asked the young calf.
“The star was a gift from God to announce to the world that a special baby had been born. It was the largest star in the sky. It shone over the earth to lead travelers from far and near to the Baby Jesus. In fact, the star was so bright, the stable glowed as the dog stood watch, with the cow and the donkey nearby.
“So you see,” said the cow, “it was on a special night, in a simple stable like this one, that ordinary animals became special animals because of the unique and most precious gifts each of them offered to Baby Jesus.”
“It was a donkey, like me, who carried the baby’s mother safely on his back,” said the donkey.
“And a sheep, like me, gave her a special woolen blanket,” said the young sheep.
“Only a dove, like me, could have lulled the baby to sleep,” cooed the gentle dove.
“And it took a brave dog to keep watch over them all,” said the dog, “just like me. Ruff! Ruff!”
“Yes, everyone has a unique and most special gift to give at Christmas,” said the cow. “That’s why animals like us are given this special gift of speech each Christmas Eve at midnight. So we might tell our children about those very first Christmas gifts given by ordinary animals.”
The animals gathered at the door to the stable. Suddenly they saw a bright star in the sky.
“Look! It’s the same star!” said the young donkey.
“Yes,” said the cow. “It is a special star that will always remind us of that special night when the most special baby was born.”
Odd Loves Company!
Katybeth and Cole