March 1st……..“TELL US A STORY ABOUT HOW YOUR FARMER FATHER GAVE EXTRA LOVE TO HIS ANIMALS ON CHRISTMAS EVE.”
Similar to a mother covering her children at bedtime, the Minnesota sky gently drew her blanket of darkness over our snow-laden farmland on that Christmas Eve. Yet, before that quilt of darkness fully descended, golden rays of the setting sun pierced the dust-covered windows of our barn. Fine particles of straw dust rode upon those sunbeam rays of gold as their light illuminated a Holstein mother and her baby calf. One could surmise it was almost like the Christmas Star above the manger in Bethlehem, only in a bovine sort of way.
Inside our farm home, the Christmas tree was bedecked with decorations and colorfully illuminated by the warm glow and quiet type of Christmas tree lights that were common in the 1950’s. Mom’s delicious cooking filled the whole house with the aroma of everything from honey-baked ham to her famous homemade bread. It was our family tradition to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve. Mom would usually read the Christmas story from our Holy Bible in the New Testament book of Luke Chapter 2, verses 1 – 7. Then we’d begin the joys of opening presents that beckoned to us from under the glorious Christmas tree. Before all that could happen, though, Dad was giving some “presents” of his own to all the animals of our farm.
From the chickens, to the pigs, to our Shetland pony and especially to our herd of Holstein dairy cows…….every creature got extra food and extra amounts of clean straw bedding on Christmas Eve; a gift from their farmer owner who loved them all. Like his beloved farmer father before him, our daddy respected and loved every animal that God had graciously given to our family on that farm. And, one wonders what the animals may have “said” to one another on that special night of nights.
Dad, now happy that his livestock were taken care of with love, made his way to our farm house for the remainder of the evening with our family. With these tasty Christmas “gifts” in front of them and extra fresh straw bedding below them, one never knows if maybe that momma cow and her baby may have began to speak to each other in the language of “Holsteinian”. Daddy Harry Holstein was off in his special pen at the southwest corner of our barn enjoying his extra grain and bedding. With a happy spirit, he moooed a “MERRY CHRISTMAS” to Henrietta Holstein and their new son, Horace Holstein across our barn. With only winter’s starlight now coming through the barn windows, Horace asked his mother, “Mom, why does Mr. Noorlun give us extra of everything on this night”? Henrietta nuzzled her soft nose into her young son’s neck as she responded, “Well, son, this is Christmas Eve and our farmer, Mr. Noorlun, is a Christian”. “Every year, at this time, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem of Judea in a land called Israel”. “I like to think that our farmer owner wants to celebrate the birth of his Savior with these presents to us, just like the Wise Men brought presents to young Jesus to celebrate His birth long ago”. With all that milk in his tummy from his mother and extra grain, Horace was getting sleepy in that warm barn and settled his little body down into that soft, new straw below him. Saying with a yawn, “Well, Mom, if I were a little human boy, here at Christmas, I’d sure be saying MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and I’d thank God for being a Norwegian Farmer’s Son”!!! 😉