December 20th………..”GRANDPA, PLEASE TELL US A STORY ABOUT HOW YOUR FARMER FATHER GAVE THE “GIFT” OF EXTRA LOVE TO YOUR ANIMALS ON CHRISTMAS EVE”.
Similar to a mother covering her children at bedtime, the Minnesota sky above us gently drew her blanket of darkness over our snow-laden farm land on that Christmas Eve.
Yet, before that 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 mother Holstein cow and her baby calf.
One could surmise that that ray of light was almost like the Christmas Star above the Christchild’s holy manger in the city of Bethlehem, only in a bovine sort of way.
Across the yard from the barn, our farm home was bedecked with holiday festiveness. Mom had a fragrant pot of coffee brewing for Dad to warm up with when he finished chores on that special night.
Mom’s delicious Christmas cooking had filled the four walls of our humble home with the aromas of everything from her honey-baked ham to her family famous home-made bread.
For our family, it was a Christmas tradition to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve. Mom would read the Christmas story from the Bible in the New Testament Book of Luke in Chapter 2, verses 1-7. Then, we’d begin the joys of opening presents that beckoned to us from under our glorious Christmas tree.
Before our indoor festivities could begin, our father, Russell, was giving some “presents” of his own to all the animals on our farm.
From the chickens, to the pigs and even our Shetland pony got extra food and fresh straw bedding to enjoy on that special Christmas Eve night.
By the time Dad bedded down our 15 Holstein cows with fresh straw from the haymow above us, the barn held a happy perfume all its own; a gift from their farmer/master who loved every creature that God had placed under his care there on our farm.
Like his beloved Norwegian farmer father before him, our daddy respected and loved each animal that relied on him for shelter, food and loving care.
One even wonders what the animals may have said to each other, on that special night of nights. After our father snapped off the last light in the barn and headed for the house, an animal interaction may have occurred, one never knows. So, with a bit of imagination, our Holsteins may have begun to speak their farm language of “Holsteinian” to each other in the quietness. Daddy “Herkamer Holstein”, off in his special pen in the barn, was definitely enjoying his extra feed and bedding. With a happy spirit, I’ll venture to say he moooooed a masculine-sounding “MOOOOORRY CHRISTMAS”!!! across the barn to “Henrietta Holstein” and their new son, “Horace Holstein”.
With only winter’s starlight now gently emanating through the barn windows, I can almost hear little “Horace Holstein” talking to his mother…….“Mom, why does Mr. Noorlun bless us with extra of everything on this night”? “Henrietta Holstein” lovingly responded to her little one……“Well, son, our human caretakers are Christians and for them, this night is called Christmas Eve”. She continued, “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”. “Henrietta” concluded to her son…..“I like to think our farmer/master wants to celebrate the birth of his Savior with these “presents” to us, just like the Wise Men brought gifts to young Jesus to honor Him and His birth long ago”!!
With a tummy full of warm milk from his mommy, and a fresh bed of straw as a “gift” from our farmer father, “Horace” was getting sleepy as he lay near the cozy body warmth of his dear momma. Just before floating off to dreamland, “Horace” groggily said, “Well, Mom, if I were a little human boy, here at Christmastime, I’d sure be saying MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL”!!! “And I’d even say that I thank God for being an animal owned by the father of a Norwegian Farmer’s Son”!!! 😉