Be carried on the wind of your imagination…


The nite is black and raw.


One star alone shines brightly in the sky. The unusual illumination makes her nervous. Her bones are old and brittle and the ribs protruding from her frail body carry very little flesh. She is hungry and weary. She slithers into a back corner stall in the dark building where the animals rest, circles several times in the old, used straw to make a warm nest, and curls around herself.  A gap between two boards of the stall give her visual access and her ears lay flat against her skull always listening for any threat from the world. Splintered remnants of bones are buried under the straw. She has slept here before. And so she dozes in the cold occasionally stirring to pick up her ears and listen to voices carried on the air from the inn.

 At some point later there is noisy commotion in the stable. Humans settle into one of the empty stalls. The cattle and horses respond, but she lies silent -- wary.  Gradually all quiets once more and she rests.

She is not an OTCH. She has no title designations either before or after her name. She doesn't even have a name. Her legs are long and wolf-like and her hair is wiry, short, and mangy. Sort of a honey color, she has never known a home or regular meals. While many human feet have taken kicks at her, she has never known the love of a human hand.

She barks softly in her sleep, perhaps dreaming of a meal, perhaps the ache of arthritis enflamed by the damp bedding when suddenly -- instantly -- she comes awake. Alerted by  the unusual noises emanating from the manger down where the humans lie sleeping, she cocks her head to one side and listens to this strange cry.

 All of the instincts given to her by God meld together in the old bitch. She rises. She is a great herder, a nurturing dam, a fierce protector, a stunning hunter, a survivor. She is a dog.  As if to betray her frail body, she moves silently, stealthily, gracefully, through the darkness toward the sound. Tail tucked and head bowed she rests her chin on the edge of the manger and peers over the edge into the eyes of a crying infant. She listens all about her and sensing no movement she leans into the makeshift crib and gently licks away the  tears of the Christ Child. She nudges gently and even wags her tail once. Soon he is once again sleeping and she returns to her bed as artfully as she came.


You probably will not see her in your manger scene, but she was there. A gift to the Christ from God. If you doubt it, look into the face of your canine companion. There…..behind his eyes…..you can see it. The instincts that no one can explain. He will look at you as if to say, "I have always known that she was there". And while you're looking, be reminded that he is a gift from God to you.



Kristen Dickinson