Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I am staying at the guesthouse at St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the holidays, because I love to sit with the monks as they sing. They have the most amazing, soul-shuddering harmonies.

Anyway, this morning at prayer service I sat right in front of a beautiful manger display from Jerusalem. My eyes kept returning to small statues of the animals depicted in this particular scene: the cow, the ox, the donkey, sheep, goats and even some camels. I could picture dogs and cats running around happily in the background, off-camera, so to speak. And it really warmed my heart to know that these sweet and gentle creatures were present at the birth of the Christ. They stood witness before and therefore were part of this sacred family. That's no small thing!

I know there is debate as to whether animals were actually present at this sacred birth, but regardless: we 21st-century humans should try to remember that these animals are all noble and sacred beings and deserve to be treated with respect, love, and reverence. As do we all. Their (and our) ancestors knelt at the cradle of the Christ. May it be so!