Today’s Reading: Isaiah 1:3
If you grew up in the United States, unless you were specifically taught differently, there is an idea of those present either at or shortly after the birth of Christ. The list of guest in attendance might include –
An Ox or Cow – The reason the manger was there in the first place – it was his feeding trough
A donkey – because Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem on the donkey
Some sheep – brought by the shepherds
Camels – which were how the wise men got to Bethlehem
And depending on your allegiance to Christmas there may have been a child who played a drum.
I decided that this was the song I wanted to feature yesterday, as Ive always thought of it as one of the sweetest Christmas sons ever, especially when sung by the children! I was in for a rude awakening. As I started researching for the bible texts in the gospels that mentioned the animals, I found that there was no mention of animals in the Gospels. So how exactly did we get the idea that animals were there? Artists renditions of the Nativity scene, Christmas carols, Logic (as presented above), and Christmas programs and movies! There is one text in the Bible that mentions animals at Jesus’ birth, but it was not an eyewitness account, but a prophecy – Isaiah 1:3 –
The ox knows its owner
And the donkey its master’s crib;
But Israel does not know,
My people do not consider.”
The owner & master here is referring to Jesus, mention of the crib tells us that He’s still a baby
A few years ago there was a bit of a gasp when a very influential figure in religion went on record as saying that there were NO animals present in the stable…it was a stable yes, but there weren’t animals in it. He still believes that Jesus’ birth changed history forever
It was so interesting to see the things that popular culture influences our beliefs about, even innocent and wonderful things – like Christmas. I’m sure there are places where the Christmas program is different and animals are no longer a part of the story, but these songs still exist, I still love them and I think if it helps someone to picture more clearly how Jesus arrived, we can picture animals there.