December 10th–The Donkey
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Lk. 1:41b-45)
Reflection (Cliff Johnson):
In the Old Testament story of Balaam, “the donkey saw the angel of the Lord.” That makes me wonder if the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem, and later helped Joseph and Mary, and the baby Jesus escape to Egypt – was that donkey somehow aware of the important work he was involved in?
Of course, we can’t know the answer to that question. What we do know is that there are more than one-hundred-forty references to donkeys in the Bible, and many of them portray donkeys as symbols of service, suffering, peace and humility.
In that sense, donkeys can certainly speak to us this Advent season (symbolically, I mean). Those four qualities sound like a marvelous checklist for my daily attempt to be a follower of Jesus. I’m called to serve using the gifts God has given me, to suffer persecution for my profession of faith, to seek peace and to know the peace that surpasses human understanding, and to walk humbly with my God.
Advent is a time to thank God for Hope. Maybe we can thank God for donkeys, too.
What does it mean to be a servant of suffering, peace, and humility to you?
God of steadfast compassion, let us look forward to your arrival, and join you in your service to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.