Since we moved to the farm, when I think about Christmas eve, I think about the old legend how the animals speak when the clock moves over midnight. I have wondered if this was so but haven’t walked out to the barn to find out. The horses do talk to me in their own way. I’ve caught them understanding my words.
It still startles me that Jesus was born in a stable, the manure ripe and redolent, the sweet smells of cattle and donkeys. Was there a midwife? Did an angel show up to help? Or was it left up to Joseph to cut the cord? Pastor Hansen preached that Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes because babies feel like they are falling when they leave the womb. And Jesus was laid in the manger, hay his first bed, a cow’s snotty nose watching over Mary’s shoulder.
It was shepherds, not kings, not rich guys, but shepherds, the angels said, Fear not, we have glad tidings, a child who will bring peace, go see. And it was astrologers that noticed the star and followed it, arriving later with gifts fit for a king who would die.
When Jesus arrived the split between heaven and earth began to repair. Creation itself, the animals in that cave, the hay and straw and grain, the rock around them all, enshrined this birth. Creation itself is being redeemed.
I found Jesus in a stable years ago. I was deeply lonely, my brother recently dead, and it unbearably hard to make friends in a small town where everyone knew everyone else and if you didn’t have a child in school, you had little hope of becoming part of the community. I fired my therapist and bought a horse. I wound up at Everbold Farms, making friends that have stayed friends these twenty years. I think about how Jesus said where two or three are gathered together in my name, there will I be.
And here you are, friends who have shown up to read what I write, who sometimes comment with a wisdom that blows me away, a friendly and faithful community. Thank you. May Christ be born in you this season.