Little Donkey- A Longer Read

by Michael Ford last modified 08 Jan, 2020 11:52 AM

Thousands of members of our communities enjoyed taking part in Carol Services laid on by our churches and schools this Advent and Christmas...

Little Donkey- A Longer Read

Original photo from Pexels

Over 50,000 carols were sung in church and community events, and probably twice as many mince pies were eaten by those carollers.

For one attendee, her village carol concert prompted her to write into us to tell us all about the evnt and how it affected her.

Charlotte Preuveneers takes up the story:

"At our annual Carol Praise service, we always have a placid donkey called Charlie there, who helps to tell the Christmas story. At our last one in December something very special happened to me.

"The donkey walked round the room with a small child on his back dressed as Mary, led by a small child dressed as Joseph (and the donkey keeper being inconspicuous). Everyone was supplied with lots of carrots so he munched his way round the room and even after they were finished, he patiently continued to walk round the room as we sang Little donkey and various carols, and had a reading, a sermon and a prayer.

"Most of the time he completely ignored me but near the end as we were playing a carol, he walked up to me and started to put his head over my music stand. I thought he was going to eat my music but he didn't, he lifted his head and brought it down in front of the stand right in front of my face and just gazed at me.

"I was so struck. I said "Hallo" and "Thank you!" and kept looking back (all the while playing even worse than usual as I couldn't see the music and was just strumming anything!). I felt so honoured to be looked at so closely.

"Then I said "Sorry I don't have any carrots," and he lifted his head away and then brought it back as if to say, 'No you are missing the point, I didn't come for the carrots.' He just gazed at me for quite a while with his big soft eyes and I felt quite overwhelmed, honoured. Finally he lifted his head and went on his way.

"I felt so wonderful after this and I have thought about it a lot since. Someone asked me what had I learned from this, and that really set me thinking. Why was it so powerful, so moving?

"It really felt like an encounter, two beings who met. I think it was good that my hands were busy and so I didn't reach out to touch him which normally I am sure I would have done. So it was wordless and without contact.

"He really gazed at me, and I felt 'seen'. He really saw me and let me see him. And then I felt 'recognised'. One creature of God seen and recognised by another. So I felt his teaching was to gaze on others as he gazed on me so as to really 'see' them and 'recognise' them as full of God, and Christ in each and every creature.

Then yesterday, I read this passage in a book I am reading, by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest whose writings I read regularly and respect:

"When you look your dog in the face, for example, as I often looked at my black Labrador Venus, I truly believe you are seeing another incarnation of the Divine Presence, the Christ. When you look at any other person, a flower, a honeybee, a mountain - anything - you are seeing the incarnation of God's love for you and the universe you call home."

"I have told quite a few people about it and they all seemed to be touched by it."

Thank you Charlotte for sharing this wonderful story with us and our readers.

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