Day 12 of Christmas Nightlight Readings: Once in the Year
Elizabeth Yates, a celebrated Newbery Award winning author, wrote this little Christmas novel, which I have in my collection of "A Newbery Christmas." A story centered around the legend of Christmas Eve when the animals speak. Peter, a little boy who lives on a farm, decides to sleep out in the barn on Christmas Eve to see if the animals do talk. At midnight he suddenly realizes that the animals pick up a conversation in telling the story of the Nativity.
We are all familiar with the story of Jesus' birth: born humbly in a manger. At the time of His birth, the animals—in praise unto God—began to speak of the miracle. This legend, which is quite prolific in the Scandinavian countries, still brings children out of their warm beds at midnight on Christmas to see if they can hear the animals speak.
“To study history is to study the motives, the opinions, and the passions of men in order to know all the successes, the initiatives and the detours, and finally all the illusions that they make known to the mind and the surprises that they make the heart feel. In a word, it is to learn to known oneself in others.”—Jean Mabillon, 15th c. Benedictine scholar.