Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 2

Today's musical selection is "Donkey Carol", performed by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge.

One of the sweetest tales I read to my children every Christmas is "Room for a Little One", by the marvellous Martin Waddell, and illustrated by Jason Cockcroft. It is a perfect book to introduce young people to the story of the Nativity, as it is told from the point of view of the animals.

Kind Ox welcomes many weary, cold travellers into his warm, comfortable stable, on what would turn out to be the very first Christmas Eve. First, Old Dog appears at the door, and is invited to stop and rest, because "... there's always room for a little one, here". More and more animals pass by, and are welcomed by whomever is inside. Most delightful, it is the naturally predatory creature who beckons to a smaller, weaker animal. Each reassures the other that they will not be chased away-- clearly, they are "paying forward" the kindness that they, themselves, have received.

After Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse have all cuddled into the hay with Kind Ox, it is then that Tired Donkey appears, with Mary and Joseph. When Kind Ox hears that not only Tired Donkey needs refuge, but that Mary is concerned about where her baby will be born, he of course, calls out to welcome them, because "...there's always room for a little one here".

The illustrations in this book are quite magical-- each page is touched with a shimmery light, almost as if the scenes had been scattered with star dust. Just by looking at the pictures, it is clear that there is something very special going on... that the baby who arrives, and whom the animals gather round to admire, is someone very wonderful, indeed.

"And so Jesus was born, with the animals all around him;
Kind Ox, Old Dog, Stray Cat, Small Mouse and Tired Donkey
all welcomed him into the warmth of their stable.
That cold winter's night, beneath the star's light...
... a Little One came for the world."

1 comment:

Nan said...

Greetings! I just followed you from "wiping up snot" and you are hereby bookmarked! You have made my afternoon of stuffy head and runny nose more bearable. Thanks.

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