A jewel of a find
About seven years ago I was in a bookstore and found a jewel that changed my life. It was a Little Golden book published in 2007 and the author was Gail Weir. I owned probably 20 or 30 Little Golden Books as a child and I was delighted to find a new one. This treasure was titled The Animals Christmas Eve and was about the night that Christ was born. The story has a group of barnyard animals having a discussion on Christmas Eve regarding what they had been told about the night Jesus was born. Each animal was proud to announce what his or her ancestor had done when in the presence of the Son of God. This is a heartwarming story that is aimed at 2-6-year-olds but truly is for the young at heart. After reading it I thought about the animated television program The Little Drummer Boy where the animals were bowing in front of the Christ Child and decided that yes the animals probably did respond to their creator. I only paid 50 cents for the book but it is worth its weight in gold.
Christmas Eve magnificance
From childhood I have heard stories that on Christmas Eve at midnight that animals would bow their heads in remembrance of the birth of Christ. I can recall a time, prior to the Internet and 24 hour living that I would go outside on December 24 at 12:00 AM and there would always be a stillness and mystery in the air. Jesus was not born on December 25 but early Christians set aside the date to honor Him. It was my opinion that because so many people around the world were focused on Him at this time that something shifted in the atmosphere. I liken it to churches where the presence of the Lord comes in strong as increasing numbers worship Him. After reading The Animals Christmas Eve I often try to imagine the first Christmas night and what the animals really might have done. There are even legends that say animals speak on December 24 at midnight and a children's book has been written about it.
The animals speak: A Christmas Eve Legend
Marion Dane Bauer wrote a book titled The Animals Speak A Christmas Eve Legend. This expounds on what has been stated for years regarding the animals being able to speak on Christmas Eve at midnight. it is believed that all the animals in the world, are granted the power of speech at the stroke of midnight on December 24. Although as mentioned earlier this was not the date of his birth it is a day that is symbolic of His coming. Creation rejoices at the birth of Jesus, who was born humbly in a manger and surrounded by animals. They begin braying in stables, barking in yards, and singing from the treetops as they rejoice in the miracle of the virgin birth and proclaim, "The Child is come." We live in a day and age where the wonder and beauty of how Christ came into the world have been lost in the commercialism of the season. As I read The Animals Christmas Eve and The Animals Speak: A Christmas Eve Legend I think of the second verse of the song Away in a Manger.
Animals can talk
The cattle are lowing the baby awakes but Little Lord Jesus no crying He makes. Perhaps the cattle really did have something to say that night more than 2,000 years ago and maybe only select people were chosen to hear it. In II King chapter 6 after the Lord opened his eyes the servant of Elisha was able to see an army of angels that previously were invisible to him. They were there all along but Elisha had to pray for the servant's eyes to be opened. We were not there on the first Christmas and we don't know what took place or how the animals continue to react. What harm will it do this Christmas Eve to simply consider that the animals talked on the night that Christ was born, after all a donkey spoke to Balaam in Numbers 22.