Sunday Post ~ A story that we like to read on Christmas Eve
The Night of Peace
Then God spoke to all the animals and He told them, "I know that you are the worst sufferers of all -- you are persecuted and haunted by man, and slaughtered and killed in your thousands. But I am going to send Someone who will also take care of you."
The animals spoke back to God and they said, "How will we know when He comes?"
And God said, "You'll know when He comes because I will send a star, a shining star low over the land, and," He says, "this star will stop when I send the person I want to earth to teach you. Where that star comes to rest -- there my Son shall come to earth."
And the animals were pleased.
So, that night when Jesus was born, the old wolf came out of his den. He was very hungry. He too had heard the Word of God before that time and all day he had lain in his den so lean and hungry -- tonight he would go out and hunt. The moon was up and the stars were shining, and one great star came across the sky! The wolf looked and he saw and he felt peaceful, he felt no violence. He didn't want to kill, he didn't want to hunt, he didn't want anything. So he sat and he looked at the star and the star came to rest not far from where the wolf was: the place to this day is known as Bethlehem.
But he hadn't sat very long when the next one who came out of his den was a fox. The fox too was hungry and was intending to go and hunt that night, travel many, many miles to look for his fare. But after he came out of his den, and the moon was shining clear and he saw the star (and he too had heard the Word of God when God spoke to all animals), he felt peaceful and content with the world. He had no urge to kill, he had no urge to steal, no urge to do anything, he just wanted to sit and be peaceful.
So he walked up and he sat down beside the wolf. The wolf and the fox were never really enemies -- hey kept apart from each other but they never really were enemies. So the wolf turned round and said, "Well, Mister Fox, I see you're on your hunt tonight again."
"Oh yes," he said, "but I feel very funny. I feel hungry -- more than hungry -- I've been lying in my den in my cave, hiding out all day, but I've got no urge to kill, no urge to steal -- and it overpowers my hunger pangs."
"The same with me, " says the wolf, "I feel the same way. You remember that God told us that one night He was going to send His Son to earth to walk among animals and people and teach them the way this earth should be run?"
"Aye," says the fox, "I got word of that too."
"Well, I expect," says the wolf, "this is the night."
So the two of them sat talking for a wee while, when who comes tottering down his path but a big brown hare! And he came to a full stop beside the wolf and the fox. And the wolf paid him no heed and neither did the fox. The hare was amazed. Otherwise he would have stopped terrified. But he felt no fear! Any other time he'd have been off like a shot in case the wolf or the fox would get him. He sat with his ears straight up!
And it was the wolf who spoke, "Well, Mister Hare, I see you're off on your rambles tonight again."
"Well," the hare said, "I was off down the valley to the farm. A grass field is there and I was off to fill my belly and have a feed. But I have no inclination tonight . . . I feel hungry but I've no inclination to eat. I feel so peaceful and quiet, " he said, "I feel at peace with the world. Even you two -- I feel at peace with you although you're my enemies."
"Oh!" said the wolf, "pay no heed to us tonight! Tonight is the Night of Peace. Have you not heard," he said, "the Word of God?"
"Oh yes," said the hare, "I've heard the Word of God, that some day he's going to send His Son, God's Son, to walk among us, among all humans and animals and teach them the Word of God -- how animals should be treated on this earth as well as human beings."
"Well," said the wolf, "I expect tonight is the night. Look down the valley there, the moon is shining and you'll see the shepherd sitting out with his sheep, and his dogs are beside him! Those dogs have picked up our scent long long ago, the scent of the wolf and the fox and probably the scent of you too. And they pay no heed, they too are peaceful. So is the shepherd. Tonight I think all animals will be peaceful."
"Well," the hare says, "tonight if you're going to be like that and the fox is going to be like that, why don't we all gather together -- you go that way and I'll go this way, and let the fox go another direction! Tell every animal that you meet on your way that tonight is the night God has sent His Son to earth, and we shall have a night of peace -- no animal shall destroy another."
"Well," says the wolf, "that would be a very good plan, for tonight I feel very funny -- I feel so happy although I'm hungry!"
So the wolf went in one direction, the fox went in another direction and the hare went another. The hare met all the small mammals along the way and he told them the same thing -- from the very little shrew-mouse to the hedgehog, the rat, the vole and the water vole -- and everyone felt the same.
So the fox went off and he met many other animals -- he met the rabbits and he met the badger, he met the stoat and he met the weasel -- he met them all and told them the same thing, "This is the Night of Peace."
So the wolf went off and he wandered in the same way. He met the deer -- the deer was amazed because the wolf never chased him -- and the deer was peaceful. The wolf traveled on and on and he walked among the cattle. The cattle were peaceful. Till he came to the donkey -- the donkey was peacefully grazing. And the wolf walked up.
He says to the donkey, "Hello!"
"Oh!" says the donkey,"I see you're on your travels tonight once again," and the donkey stood still.
He said to the donkey, "Tonight all the animals are at peace."
"That's true," said the donkey, "all the animals are at peace! Why have you come to disturb me?"
"I have not come to disturb you," he said. "I have come to tell you the good news."
The donkey says, "Look, Mister Wolf, you don't have to come tell me the news. I too, more than anyone else, have heard the Voice of God! And this night," he said, "is the night that God's Son is born. Let us all be at peace!"
And that night, the whole night through, all the animals on the hills, the mountains, in valleys and woods were at peace with each other. No one touched another, no one killed another, and the whole night out they celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ to earth!
-- A Scottish story told in "Fireside Tales of the Traveller Children"
And another story for Christmas Eve:
Wherever you are, whatever is happening in your life, Peace be with you, tonight and throughout this season and the coming year.
Amen and Merry Christmas!