The Legend of the Christmas Donkey

In February 2018, we lost our beloved Ditto  He had been a part of our holiday manger for 22 years.  Out of the pain of losing Ditto came healing in the form of Edgar, a rescue donkey, who came to join our Overly's Family for the 2019 Season.

Each Christmas, these two endearing souls have provided us with the joy of innocence, putting smiles on our faces in the midst of holiday bustle. They've undoubtedly been the life-blood of our Overly's Family, but more than that, their story runs deep. It's a story not limited to Ditto or Edgar. It's a story of what they are, of how important their role in Christianity has come to be known. They are a part of us, and part of a grander legend.

29595115_10211514723253134_6758241984415669806_n.jpgTHE LEGEND OF THE DONKEY’S CROSS

A poor farmer near Jerusalem owned a donkey far too small to do much work at all. He felt that he couldn’t afford to feed a worthless animal like this, one that could do him no good whatsoever, so at the supper table he told his family that he was going to kill the donkey.

His children, who loved the little donkey, begged him to sell it rather than harm it. But the farmer said, “It’s wrong to sell an animal that can’t do a good day’s work.”

Then his oldest daughter suggested, “Father, tie the donkey to a tree on the road to town, and say whoever wants it may take it for nothing.” And the next morning, that’s what the farmer did.

Soon, two men approached and asked if they could have the donkey. “It can carry almost nothing,” the farmer warned them.

“Jesus of Nazareth has need of it,” replied one of the men. The farmer couldn’t imagine what a great teacher would want with such a worthless donkey, but he handed it over.

The men took the animal to Jesus, who stroked the grateful donkey’s face and then mounted it and rode away. So it was on the day we call Palm Sunday, Jesus led his followers into the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a small, common donkey.

The donkey so loved his gentle master that he later followed him to Calvary. Grief-stricken by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but couldn’t leave. It was then that the shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey, and there it stayed. All donkeys have borne the sign of the cross on their backs since that very day.

(Posted with the author’s permission, Sue Weaver, The Donkey Companion, Storey Publishing, 2008.