Editor’s Note: For several years, the following column has been published each year at Christmas.
The tranquility of a stable on a winter night can be one of the most peaceful and comfortable places on earth.
So perhaps the birth place of the baby Jesus wasn’t bad.
In a column, “Born in a Barn — Thoughts for Advent,” veterinarian Laurie Wallace wrote on the same theme, drawing upon professional experiences in observing the gentle world of animals and their connection with human beings.
“The insinuation is usually given to convey the despicable aspects of giving birth, of being housed in a stable,” Wallace wrote.
“I am always taken aback at this attitude as the Lord has created in me a totally different outlook on animals and barns.”
It’s easy for me, a farmer’s daughter, to relate to the veterinarian’s thinking.
My memories were born in a stable located on a hill just north of Trenton near the Todd-Christian County line.
The wide front door opened to the southwestern sky, and at night there was a star spectacle that outshone the blinking of multi-colored Christmas lights wrapped around tree and bushes.
To a little girl, that stable was filled with the gentleness that was enhanced by the brightness of a starry winter sky.
As her father hand-milked the cows, there was the steam that came from the breath of the quiet Jersey cows, peacefully chewing their cud — the epitome of contentment.
The strong animal bodies radiated warmth beneath the stable roof and child and animals alike were surrounded by the sweet smell of hay. Barn cats rubbed our ankles waiting for a bit of warm milk.
A horse or mule quietly shifted in its stall.
It was day’s end, and the animals were at peace. In their eyes, you see the simple trust of well-tended livestock.
The warmth, the smells, the sound of a soft wind and stars in that sky — no greater peace could be enjoyed.
So with that peace, warmth, comfort and trust, what better place than a stable could there be for Christ to come to man?
No inn could have offered so much — then or now.
The sweet little Jesus child must have slept peacefully that night in the arms of Mary, who with Joseph met an awesome challenge in a place that was private and warm.
Wallace wrote that the practice of animal medicine had meant a life spent around animals, hay and barns. From that, there came a sense of “comfort and peace in knowing the smells and sounds that surrounded Mary, Joseph and the baby.”
“The thought of giving birth in an overcrowded, noisy inn, filled with human odor and filth, is repugnant to me. It seems a far worse consequence than the peace and privacy of a barn,” she writes.
“Mary was wise, the inn keeper was wise and kind, and God was perfect in allowing Mary and Joseph to flee from the distractions and noise of the inn to the quiet, private spot.”
“How appropriate, how blessed, how perfect for God to come to his people in a stable,” Wallace wrote.
Pray that consideration of the circumstances and setting of Jesus’ birth will allow you to see God’s glory shining in the humble things of this season.
May you enjoy peace and contentment in the surroundings where you have been placed by the Lord.
May you and yours be as close to peace on earth as was a little girl with her father, quiet animals and a star-spangled sky.
Reach Mary D. Ferguson at 270-885-5839 or send mail to her home at 4345 Pembroke Road, Hopkinsville, KY 42240. Emails sent to email@example.com will be forwarded to Ferguson.