As Christmas approached, I remembered and found a seldom-told folk tale. If there is a place we go after we leave this earth, it seems increasingly possible that there must be a place for all God’s creatures. For in my heart I am certain my four-legged friends absolutely do have souls. 

I want to share this with all of you as we think of all the animal friends that have been part of our lives this holiday. 

Once there was a burro with a cruel master, who fed him only stale food and water, and overworked and beat him every day. He never was able to rest, he was forever hungry,  thirsty,  and tired.

One Christmas Eve his master rode him for miles to a party, though he was sick, beating him and forcing him to stagger on until their arrival. 

He tied the burro to the hitching rail and went inside. The burro stood still in the cold, trying to rest for the journey home by not moving a muscle, but only grew more and more tired.

Suddenly he heard a loud and musical bray, as a burro appeared from the darkness, his coat the color of a shiny silver dollar. 

His bray was the sound of children playing, his hoofs sounded a musical tinkle each time they touched the ground.

"Come with me”, the silver burro brayed.

"I must wait to take my master home," the sick burro said.

"Come with me”, urged the silver burro.

"I cannot, I am too tired, and besides I am tied to this rail."

"Come with me” the silver burro insisted, and as the weary burro finally began to follow, the rope just slipped away, the saddle fell from his back, and he felt as did when he was a foal, and the weariness began to fade.

He bounded across the country with the silver burro, and there more stars than he ever had seen, in the sky and even on the ground. Suddenly it was light, and he was in a field of green grass, belly deep as far as he could see, with countless springs of cold, clear, and water. Thousands of burros were there, with no sun but light coming from everywhere. It was a heavenly place.

But why was the silver burro so different from the rest, who all were wearing coats of a common color. Why was his coat, glossier than the finest racehorse? The burro finally asked him, who was he, where was he from? 

The silver burro brayed like the laughter of children and said….”I am the Burro of Bethlehem, who went there with Joseph and Mary, carrying the Virgin on my back. I was there when the baby Jesus was born."

The Christmas party lasted late into the night. The burro’s cruel master sang and danced, ate too much food, and drank more than he should. He came outside and found his sick and tired burro; his starved worn out body cold, stiff, and lying there where he had been tied. 

For the silver burro of Bethlehem had taken him to burro heaven. 


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