His bray is obnoxious, features rather homely, but today he is in the presence of a mighty King. This stable was not large, but warm, away from the winds which blew across Bethlehem. And the breath of other animals, notably the huff and puff of an ox, drew up the temperature.
The donkey ambled about, restless in his demeanor, sensing something of great consequence was about to happen.
It was very busy when the man and lady first came to his home. In the beginning they appeared sad, but soon babbled happily, especially after the birth of their child. Exultations soon emanated from every corner of this small building. He watched with fascination as the new neighbours fussed about, and what appeared as a glow surrounded them.
He watched as the slender lady lay comfortably with her child on his feed of hay. She sang softly to the child wrapped in swaddling clothes. The man hovered about nearby, a glint in his eye; and pride for his first son. One who, unknown to him, would command an army of angels, and yet never feel a desire to use them.
The donkey could see through the windowless building---how bright the sky was; a little unnatural he thought. Usually about this time, darkness was like a blanket covering everything about them. Drawing closer for an outside view the reason for brightness became obvious. A star, brilliant in its exposure, shone from directly overhead. He closed his eyes and accepted these rays as blessings.
Suddenly a commotion began with rough banging against the building; obviously an urgency of some kind. The baby awoke with a smile, His mother had alarm on her face and the father quickly discovered three men outside, fatigue showing on their faces. Accepting the invitation to come inside, the men hurried to the infant child. We have come from afar, they said, bringing gifts for a newborn King.
It took awhile to convince Joseph he was in the presence of a great event. Unable to understand the fullness of their comments, he held his tongue. His wife went to him saying how this was foretold. All turned to the three men who brought three precious gifts---Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh---indeed gifts for a King.
And behind the gift-giving celebrations, a donkey brayed and the ox grunted with happiness.
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(c) Richard L. Provencher
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