That Special Night

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

The shaggy brown donkey sniffed the night air. Something was afoot, he could tell. For several days he had carried Mary, heavy with child, through the hills of Judea. The journey had been made necessary by a decree from Caesar Augustus, calling for a census. Everyone had to go to their homeland to be registered. Joseph, her fiancé, was from the lineage of David and Bethlehem was the city of David. So the shaggy brown donkey had been chosen for the trip.

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.  Luke 2:1-5 (NLT)

All his stable mates gave the shaggy brown donkey a hard time, telling him how glad they were that THEY hadn’t been chosen for the long, tough journey. But the shaggy brown donkey didn’t mind. In fact, he felt pretty special, like maybe he was going to be a part of something very exciting and momentous. When he had been saddled with a blanket and Mary had mounted his back, the shaggy brown donkey set out on his journey with a song in his heart. The journey was long, the hills were steep, and the nights were cold, but he tried his best to make the journey as comfortable as possible for the woman he was carrying.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, to his master’s dismay, there was no place warm for them to stay. Because of the census, all the rooms in the inns were full. But a kindly innkeeper offered a nearby stable so that the young family could be out of the wind. Joseph gently helped Mary off the donkey and she settled in to the hay in the barn. The shaggy brown donkey watched with loving care as Joseph made a bed for Mary as best he could. The other animals in the barn were also watching. Maybe they, too, could feel the wonder of this night.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.  Luke 2:6-7 (NLT)

All the animals in the stable watched in awe as the child was born and laid in a manger for his bed. They looked at each other and knew…. this was a very special child. Soon they heard loud singing in the hills and fields around Bethlehem. Angels had appeared to shepherds, lighting up the sky with their glory and filling the chill air with their song.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  Luke 2:8-11 (NLT)

The shaggy brown donkey knew in his heart that this child had been born for the most special of reasons – to save the lost and give His life for the sins of the world. Because of this child, mankind now had the promise of eternal life with God. The shaggy brown donkey felt so blessed that he had been a part of this special night.

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good

God bless

A Stander in Nebraska

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