The First Noël Through The Eyes Of A Donkey

Hi! I’m Donkey.

I’m in my mid-20s. I’ve lived all my life with my family of five. We love to travel together. I’m the eldest of my 3 brothers and I’ve served Jacob for God-knows-how-long. Joseph, Jacob’s son, is very fond of me and has me as his lucky charm. He always treats me as fam, you know. Joseph was quite a young man, enthusiastic about life and always ready to give a helping hand. He’d usually lie on the roof each night, stargazing at the beautiful bright-lit night sky, soliloquizing about some weird things only he understood.

It was tumultuous times, really. It somewhat gave people an optimistic feeling that something unusual was about to happen. I talked to my family about it and they couldn’t agree more. The birds chirped new melodies, the trees danced more rhythmically to the blazing wind in the hot sun and even during the nights, the stars twinkled in dazzling array. Even nature could feel the ecstatic suspense.

Not long after, the youngest of my brothers came to tell me that he had overheard some big news in town that day; Emperor Augustus had decreed that all the world should be registered. Another census? T’was the second census ever in my lifetime, and I wondered how long we’d be travelling this time. That nightfall, Joseph brought another companion, perhaps for the journey. I’d seen her a couple of times in the past. Mary. A young teenager, about 4 feet tall, coffee brown in complexion and subtle in countenance. She seemed to be carrying a baby.

It was the first time I had ever carried a human. Technically, two humans. Not easy, not gonna lie. It was a 90-mile journey from Nazareth to the south along the flat lands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem. It took us about 10 days. The longest 10 days of my life. There were times when the baby would kick, Mary would be in anguish and my legs would just not move. Numerous times. I’ve never been so stressed in my life.

When we arrived in Bethlehem, it was bed time and everyone was already indoors. Joseph sent us into his native home. They were very welcoming and had anticipated our visit. However, we had arrived late and the upper rooms were full. Since it was night time and was a little cold outside, my brothers and I were brought in into such a warm space in the lower room. It was the best rest I had had in a long time.

Early in the morning, I was sent into the family barn. Relatives had come along with their own livestock. We looked like a big family of our own. The barn looked like a home away from home. I made some new friends. Sheep recollected his long journey all the way from Samaria. If only he had known I had come from Nazareth. He didn’t seem to believe me when I told him, lol. Cow talked with all sincerity about how the entire atmosphere was saturated with some unspeakable exuberance. Everybody seemed to have resounded in agreement.

That night, we heard angels singing. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in all my life. So many voices yet such striking harmony as one voice. This occurred the subsequent nights. One night when the young foals were being sent into the house to keep themselves warm, I joined the crowd. I couldn’t afford not to take a glimpse at whatever made heaven descend on earth.

The starlight was as bright as the morning sun. The night breeze was encapsulated with vibrant joy. As I entered in, I noticed that visitors were still travelling from afar to see the new born baby.

There, laid perfectly in a manger for all to see, was a bouncing baby boy. He was sound asleep yet many were staring at him at every moment. Several gifts were laid all around him. One bearded man in rich purple cloak with several servants behind him exclaimed, “The greatest of kings, born in the humblest of places.” Little did I know that I was looking at the greatest miracle in human history; God in the flesh.

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