Each Christmas I seem to connect with one specific member of the Nativity story. Some years it’s Mary. I can picture her being young and scared, stepping out into the unknown with an unshakeable faith. Other years it’s the shepherds. Can you see them dancing their way into Bethlehem, anxiously seeking the newborn King, fist-pumping and high-fiving along the way?
But this year… Well, this year someone different caught my eye. Someone a bit unexpected.
An Ordinary Donkey
Yes, the donkey caught my attention this time. As Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem, they were most likely riding a donkey or similar lowly animal. Not fancy stallions. Not high-seated camels. Just a donkey.
As I considered the donkey, I realized how very ordinary he was. While some may raise an eyebrow at God’s only Son being carried into Bethlehem this way, I found myself identifying with the simple creature.
God seems to enjoy using ordinary people to bring His message of salvation to the world. Mary was a common – yet faithful – young girl. Joseph was a typical carpenter. The simple shepherds who “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” (Luke 2:17) were certainly unlikely candidates to be among the first to share Jesus with the world. But yet God used them. In fact, He CHOSE them!
Why the Donkey?
God still uses ordinary people to bring Jesus to the world today. Like the donkey, we can carry Christ to the world. We don’t have to be well-dressed, wealthy kings. We don’t have to be evangelists speaking to tens of thousands of people at a time. We don’t have to be the perfect hostesses of extravagant dinner parties in our homes. God calls us as our ordinary selves.
This Christmas let’s accept that whether or not we feel ordinary, we each have our unique way to carry the love and hope of Jesus into the world.