Sunday, December 9, 2001

Read this to children


(Here's a short story that I have written for children ­ you guessed it ­ of ALL ages.)

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Daweeth D. Donkey. Daweeth is Hebrew for your English name David. Most of my friends just call Davey. Yep! That's me, Davey Donkey.

I'm pleased to be able to tell you my story. Oh, this story isn't really about me. It's about Jesus and his birth and life. And actually this story is about you ­ because any story about Jesus has something to do with you. Right?

Anyway, the first question that seems to need answering is this: Did Mary really ride a donkey to Bethlehem for Jesus to be born there? Well, even though the Bible doesn't say so specifically, Christmas cards show Mary riding a donkey on the long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. You've also seen pictures of Mary and Joseph escaping to Egypt with Jesus as a baby. And who's in these pictures? Yep, a donkey, alright!

Well, I'm here to tell you that those pictures are correct. Mary did ride a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and to Egypt and back to Nazareth. How do I know? You guessed it, that donkey was me! Yep! Let the truth be told. It was I, Davey Donkey who gave those rides.

Maybe the next question is WHY did Mary ride me? Those were long trips, you know. And as smooth as I tried to walk, it was a long bumpy ride, no matter how you look at it. So, why did Mary ride me?

The answer is actually quite simple. I was what you modern folks would call their "family car." Nothing fancy, nothing sporty, nothing luxurious, but I was basic transportation. And I wasn't only used for personal transportation. I was kind of like a jeep or a pickup truck, too. Whenever folks had to haul something or move it or load it and take it from one place to another, I was called into service.

In fact, I picked up a nickname for all the work I did. You know what that is? Yep, they call me the "beast of burden".

But still another question gets us closer to the point of this whole story. What does it symbolize or mean that Mary rode ME to Bethlehem and that Jesus rode with Mary on me to Egypt and back? So, what's the big deal?

Maybe a little more background information is needed here. You see, we animals were the "status symbols" for folks way back then. It's kind of like your houses and cars today. The nicer they are, when people look at you they think about you one way. The more plain or even crummy they are, people look at you and think about you in a much different way.

Anyway, only a very few folks had horses back in my day. These were usually the soldiers and people who were very war-like. They usually were vengeful and riding their horses seemed to say to people, "Get out of my way! I'm big! I'm tough! Don't get in my face or I'll make you wish you hadn't!" Especially when a horse was hooked up to a chariot, people thought of someone who was angry and looking for a fight.

On the other hand, folks who rode on us donkeys were considered very humble. Oh, they weren't wimps, but they weren't trying to throw their weight around either. People on donkeys were usually very peaceful people. Not looking for a fight, but looking for ways to help others and to live peacefully together. And their peaceful strength turned out in the end to be a lot mightier than the war-lords!

So, what did it mean that Mary rode on me and that Jesus rode on me? Yep, it symbolized that he came for peace, not for fighting. Everyone knew that Mary was on a journey and mission for peace when she rode on me. Everyone knew, too, that Jesus was on a journey and mission for peace when he rode on me. We all knew that.

Did you know that? Sure you did, because you know the words the angels sang to the shepherds that night Jesus was born: "Glory to God in the highest, and PEACE to his people on earth."

Here's what I want you to learn from 'ol Davey Donkey: "Peace" is something you need to hear about again, especially in your troubled and even dangerous world right now! Some of the people in the world right now are a lot more war-like than peace-filled. And you know what? Sometimes even you and the people around you act and talk more war-like than peace-filled. Even at Christmas, sometimes especially at Christmas, tempers get short and you speak fighting words to each other and maybe even end up not speaking to each other at all.

Emotions are strong and sometimes some of you even feel more sad than happy, and that sadness makes you want to "go to war" (so to speak) with somebody ­ sometimes even with God. WOW!

But please remember: God doesn't want to go to war with you. No, remember that Mary and Jesus didn't ride into town in a horse and chariot. They rode in on ME. Remember, I'm the symbol for peace. God wants to be at peace with the whole world. That's why Jesus was born in the first place. So he could forgive the sins of every single person who ever was or ever will be, and have all people be a peace with God.

Remember, Jesus rode on ME! Davey Donkey! Jesus chose me to come to you in peace. And Jesus knew it meant humility and even suffering. Jesus came in the role of peace-maker. And he still continues to come to you, again and again, even again now as Christmas approaches, to be your Prince of Peace! That's where he gets that name, you know! That's why some of you even call your churches after that name for Jesus!

Well, I guess that's about it from me, 'ol Davey Donkey. I just ask you this favor: when you see me on your Christmas cards carrying Mary or Mary and Jesus, or when you see me in your manger scenes, please don't think of me as just a smelly old donkey. Please think of me as a symbol for peace. And think of the peace that Jesus brings to you and to the whole world, so that you might be at peace with God and with each other. I'll never forget those words of the angels. I hope you won't either. "And peace to his people on earth." The End.

A personal note from Pastor Kollmeyer: "May the true peace of Jesus be yours this Christmas. And may it bring peace to our world, as well. Please join us at Prince of Peace on Ga. Highway 314 between Lowe's and The Pavilion for Christmas Eve candlelight Communion services at 5, 7, 9, and 11 p.m. Merry Christmas!" (For information please call 770-461-3403 or log on at

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