This delightful, yet profound Christmas story was written by one of my children on December 17, 2008. I’m still awed at the depth of thought and truth for such a young soul.
Sam the Donkey
I wish they’d all be quiet! Thought Sam as he made his way to his stable. He had been separated from his mother when he was a colt and had worked every day for forty seasons, pulling water with the other water animals. However, today he had tripped over a loose rock and hurt his ankle. Now all he wanted to do was sleep. Unfortunately, the noise wasn’t the only thing that would keep him up. He was worried. Three seasons ago, Tess, the donkey who had pulled in front of him, had collapsed. He remembered the day that he’d first come there, all scared and alone, she had been kind to him. She’d even told him stories of a Creator who loved him. After the accident, she wasn’t seen again. It got Sam thinking that if there was a Creator then why did He create pain, suffering, and death? No, there is no Creator. He’d tell himself daily. He soon became the old grump he now was known to be. Tonight, however, he didn’t tell the younger donkeys and mules to be quiet; he was deep in thought. What’ll become of me? That dreadful question seemed to occupy all of his mind, as he slowly drifted off to sleep.
“Gee hup, boy!” Sam awoke to his favorite groom trying to put some contraption on his back. After fiddling with the thing, he left. Sam had no idea what was going on; all he knew was that something was on his back and while it wasn’t completely uncomfortable, it was awkward. The groom came back with another two-legs, one Sam had never seen. This new two-legs put a rope around Sam’s bridle and led him out into the street. There a young, slightly overweight female two-legs was waiting. Sam quickly understood that he would get the horrid job of carrying this two-legs. What a disgrace! I have become an insignificant animal! I’m now to carry two-legs because their own two legs get tired faster! Never again to be a part of the water-pull team! Thoughts like these flashed through his head as they set out.
Several months had gone by and Sam was still carrying the younger of the two-legs. They had traveled a long way, and Sam was able to get a good feeling on what type of two-legs they were. The young one was kind usually and generally quiet. Same for the other; he was reserved but not grumpy. Every now and then they’d camp with other two-legs, and Sam would have some company. It was those nights that he learned that all of the two-legs were traveling somewhere. This comforted Sam, since it meant that more donkeys had been drafted from more important stations into this lowly state. However, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Sam began to have a peaceful feeling. One that he’d never felt before, even before Tess disappeared. He became content with his station and was able to look at the trough as half-full instead of half-empty. One of his favorite pastimes was looking at the stars. This would remind him of Tess and her loving God who would come to save everyone, including the dysfunctional two-legs. However, the nights would soon be over and the hot days begin, whereupon Sam would carry the ever-increasing two-legs, again. During the days and nights the question, How much longer? constantly loomed in the back of his head.
Two more months had passed and the older two-legs had become increasingly more concerned and irritated, while the other grew heavier and heavier ever day– and a bit moody. This one would often have fits of silence in which Sam and the older two-legs said nothing, and then there’d be times when all the other cold do was talk. They came to an unusually crowded town. Sam knew that he’d be lucky if he got a stable that night. Well, he wasn’t lucky; he didn’t get a stable that night or the next. In fact, they spent a week trying to find a place. Finally they found an old, dank, soon-going-to-fall-over, stable in which they all slept. Sam couldn’t wait to get a real night’s sleep. Unfortunately life had never gone his way and it wasn’t going to start now. That night the young two-legs started moaning and crying. Sam was curious; he’d never seen a two-legs behave like this. Then, to his amazement, something came out of the two-legs! It made almost more noise than she had. When Sam’s gaze fell upon the thing, a great sense of well-being came over him. He suddenly realized that this was the caring, loving God, but how could this be the God? He was something else. Like a colt! That’s it! He excitedly thought, It’s God’s colt! This was the God that Tess had told him about, the one who cared for him and loved him. He had come to save him and all the other creatures on the earth! When he realized this, he became embarrassed because he had been grumpy and never cared for others like he did himself. He decided to change that right then and there. He was going to live for this too-loud, loving God for the rest of his life.
“Wow! That was a great story, Grandpa,” said Joshep.
“Yes, and it was all true.”
“Really? Did you know Sam, Grandpa?”
“I did, not anymore.”
“Well, where is he? Can I meet him?”
“You can’t. But you can meet the new Sam,” replied Grandpa.”
“I don’t understand. How can Sam be new?”
“Well, when Sam accepted God into his heart,” began Grandpa, “he became a new donkey. Do you get it?”
“Sort of… so wait! That means I can meet him?!”
“You already have, and he’s standing in front of you.”
“You carried God! And you, a grump?” asked Joshep incredulously.
“Yes me. Now go find your mum. She’ll want to see that you’re safe,” chucked Grandpa Sam.
He loved telling that story. He had been changed that night. He had even been blessed to find a mate who blessed him with a mare. And now he was an old pack animal who had been the first to see the two-legs God. Sam couldn’t help but think of the promise that the little “baby” had given him that night. That night when his gaze had rested on God, a voice from heaven had promised that one day, one of Sam’s descendants would have the honor to carry God. Sam remembered the shame he’d felt and then the joy. He was now well over the normal age of a donkey and couldn’t be happier, knowing that no matter what, God loved him. He knew that when he died he’d be able to see all the ones who he cared for, including Tess.
Joshep had wasted no time in finding his mom. It was easy since she was tied to her pole, as usual. He couldn’t wait to tell her the story he’d just learned from Grandpa. As he was recounting the tale, two of the two-legs came up to them. They began to lead him away when Luke, his two-legs came out. The two-legs exchanged some noises and then Joshep was led away. He became frightened because he’d never really been away from his mum. They came to an empty place outside of the walls, then a different two-legs sat down on top of him! What is going on?! He frantically thought to himself. They began to walk down the path. While they were moving, more two-legs started coming out, all the while making strange noises. They continually shouted the words, “Hosanna! Hosanna to God in the highest!” Then they started putting things on the path. This scared Joshep even more, but a sense of peace overcame him, and he heard a voice.
“Do not be afraid. This is the promise I made to Sam all those years ago. You have a kind heart; make sure nothing changes that, for today you have been blessed.”
Sam was happy and decided to give his whole life to this Two-legs as his Grandpa had done many seasons before, in a stable.