There has come a time in each of my children’s early school years when their teacher introduced and taught them this song:
"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
"I carried His mother up hill and down;
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town."
"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.
"I," said the cow, all white and red
"I gave Him my manger for a bed;
I gave Him my hay to pillow His head."
"I," said the cow, all white and red.
"I," said the sheep with curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
"I," said the sheep with curly horn.
"I," said the dove from the rafters high,
"Cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry;
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I."
"I," said the dove from the rafters high.
Somewhere, about here, in the early days of the month, the song gets harder for the child to remember.. partly because of the length of the song, and partly I suspect, because we know about cows and sheep and donkeys… camels, not so much. But after stuttering and stumbling and saying “Wait, I remember now…” we eventually get back to the song.
"I," said the camel, yellow and black,
"Over the desert, upon my back,
I brought Him a gift in the Wise Men's pack."
"I," said the camel, yellow and black.
Thus every beast by some good spell
In the stable dark was glad to tell
Of the gift he gave Emmanuel,
The gift he gave Emmanuel. The child will struggle valiantly on, night after night, until the song is properly sung. Night after night, thrilled with the song...in the shower, in the morning, filling the woodbox, humming away while brushing teeth. This year it is the youngest's turn, as if it is a brand new discovery. Its what I love most about having several children, spread out in age. I get to relive familiar things all over again. The song is charming in its simplicity, and in its message. Add your own verse to the song.. what are you bringing to the Spirit this year? Perhaps food to a shelter, or pantry? A gift for an Angel Tree or a toy for tots? Perhaps an invite to an elderly neighbor to share a meal, or a meal brought in to someone with a new baby? Fill the woodbox of an older person, or offerbabysitting to a frazzled mother? Knitting a chemo cap or a NICU blanket? Donating to one of the many charities? We may not be at the manger in the stable, but we are always at the feet of our Creator... What will we bring to this HOLIDAY SEASON?