Hello, my name’s Darrell, the donkey. You’ll never guess what happened to me the other day… I was in Nazareth minding my business eating grass, thinking very important donkey thoughts, and that sort of thing, when Joseph came up to me, looking rather flustered. He told me we were going on an adventure to Bethlehem.
Now, donkeys may be a bit slow, but I know that Bethlehem is a long way from Nazareth. I began to realise that would be hard work. And then Joseph told me that we wouldn’t be going alone … that Mary would be coming with us. I don’t mean to be rude, but Mary was … how do you put it … very pregnant … she was heavy – and Joseph wasn’t going to carry her all that way, was he? No, that would be my job. And what reward would I get? A few carrots, that’s all.
So, I wasn’t very pleased, but I like Joseph and I know that he loves Mary very much. He’s been a good master for me, and I could see that he really needed my help, so I agreed to go.
It was a long and dusty road to Bethlehem. Mary wasn’t that heavy, I suppose. Joseph tried to hide it, but I could tell he was worried about her; the baby could come at any moment. Then I heard them say something that made my ears prick up. I heard Mary say that she hoped God’s baby wouldn’t be born in the desert, and that a palace would be far more suitable. I stopped in my tracks and looked at them – God’s baby? What could they mean?
And then they told me the whole story – the visit from the angel, the strange but wonderful news that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of the newborn King and saviour of the world and that God had asked Joseph to look after her. Well, I felt a bit guilty for being so grumpy about carrying Mary. I now knew I was so honoured to bear such a special burden.
When we got to Bethlehem, we found there was no room for us to stay. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like shouting out and telling them just whom I was carrying! But then I remembered that I can’t talk. Mary and Joseph just prayed and held hands tightly. Finally we found a stable to stay in. It wasn’t ideal – I mean, I didn’t mind staying there – I am a donkey, after all – but it’s no place for a normal person, let alone a king.
And that’s where the baby was born. They called him Jesus. I could tell he was special just by looking at him. Mary didn’t have much time to rest, because we had some unexpected visitors – some shepherds – rough looking blokes they were, and a bit smelly too. We were alarmed at first, but then we heard their incredible story. They’d been told that angels had appeared as they were watching their flocks and told them he had wonderful news – a baby had been born in Bethlehem, that he was a very special baby born for all the people. They were amazed that the angel had chosen to tell them, of all people, because no one thinks they’re important, but God must think that they are.
It’s been an amazing few days. Days I’ll never forget. Something really special has happened. This baby’s been born to tell us that ordinary people – and ordinary donkeys – matter to God. If he’s God, he could have chosen to be born anywhere at any time. But he chose to be born in a stable – and I got to carry him all the way to Bethlehem. Now that really is amazing!