Little Christ Jesus

Mary wrapped her new-born baby son in strips of cloth as was the custom, then laid him on clean straw in the animals feeding trough. Mary smiled as the animals crept forward to pay their respects to the King of kings, born not in a palace but in a lowly stable.

The old donkey that had carried Mary and her unborn baby all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem bent low in homage. The markings of a cross on its back fore-telling of the fate that what would one day befall this Son of Mary.

Cows lowed their praises to God for the birth of the Saviour of the world. Goats bleated Him a welcome and high up in a loft, doves looked down and cooed the precious Christ child to sleep.

Joseph helped Mary, weary now from giving birth, onto a bed of clean straw that he'd made up for her on the stable floor.

All was still, all was quiet and all slept.

Until some shepherds from a nearby field burst into the stable, loudly singing songs of joy and carrying with them a new-born lamb. Mary and Joseph woke up with a start, but not the baby Jesus, He slept on.

"God be praised!" the shepherds chorused. "It's true! What the angels told us is true! They said we'd find a new-born baby King all wrapped up in swaddling bands, lying in a manger - and there He is! What an honour that we, poor shepherds, are the first to worship Him!"

A star shone brightly above the place where the Christ child sat in His mother's arms, when once again strangers entered in to worship Him. But these three weren't simple shepherds dressed in rough home-spun garb, bringing a gift of a lamb, no, these were kings from far off lands dressed in kingly robes.

They bowed their heads in worship of the babe whose star they had followed from afar and gave Him gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Gifts fit for a King, a God and a mortal man who would one day die on a cross to save us from our sins.

So let us all join in the songs of praise the angels sang when they announced the birth of Jesus, that first Christmas Morn.

"Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King!"